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internships and education initiativ

Hello one and all.

             I've not been a subscriber to this list for nearly two 
years, so excuse
             any information gaffes I may commit.

             I would like to request all of your assistance in 
establishing an
             internship program here in Thailand. As you are certainly 
aware, there
             are 120,000 (+ or -) refugees in the border camps and a 
million or more
             "illegal", unregistered refugees scattered around Thailand. 
The average
             age of these individuals is young (in their prime: 20-30) 
with a large
             population of youngsters. The youngsters have little 
education and most
             cannot read. Education and opportunities are a luxury, a 
dream that no
             longer has value as a hope. You've heard all the sad 
stories before, you
             know it's getting worse.

             Please forgive me for playing on your guilt, but I must 
remind you
             ex-pat Burmese that you were fortunate enough to escape 
what many must
             still endure day in and day out, that many of you pledged 
to return to
             help Burma redevelop, and that many of you as part of 
receiving special
             status, scholarships, or other opportunities were expected 
to return one
             day to repay the priveledge you received. Every one must 
choose their
             time to assist and "pay back" their debts - you all will 
know the
             appropriate time - but there is an opportunity now for some 
of you to
             contribute significantly and to quicken your healing 
process  and the
             healing of Burma.

             There is an opportunity to help where you are and to help 
here in
             Thailand. To help here in Thailand would entail a 3-month 
(or longer)
             internship working with various NGOs. The need for 
education and
             medical/health & sanitation/water management assistance is 
             At the last CCSDPT meeting in BKK, I floated the internship 
idea to NGOs
             who work along the border and they were all very 
enthusiastic in having
             you guys come back and help out(they, like refugees, are 
tired and doing
             the impossible with very little). I spoke with Shona 
Kirkwood of OSI and
             we both agree that an educational survey is necessary along 
the border.
             This is an exciting project that would probably interest 
many of you.
             This is only one project that you could work on.

             I realize that there are many of you who are pursuing 
careers and have
             new commitments that will not allow you to come here to 
Thailand. There
             is much you can do. As I've mentioned, there is great 
educational and
             health needs. You now have access to great wealth whether 
you realize it
             or not. The knowledge you have gained or that you can 
access from many
             sources (books, short course materials, class notes, 
cd-roms, computer
             disks, etc) needs to be put into a form that is usable to 
people here.
             There is a need for you all to begin developing a 
curriculum (grade
             school to high school), educational materials, and 
text/modules with
             exercises for both classroom teaching and distant education 
             General subjects such as Burmese (reading and writing), 
geography, world
             history, health and sanitation, basic sciences, 
mathematics, etc. A GED
             preparation course needs to be developed and some sort of 
             process needs to be initiated. All of these can be 
performed in your
             spare time.

             As you see, the need (and opportunity) is tremendous. You 
need not leave
             your home to help, nor engage in political argumentations - 
you just
             need to share the wealth that surrounds you. I believe 
someone needs to
             lay down a format template  so that others may use it to 
begin writing
             down modules. Perhaps your local universities, community 
colleges, or
             libraries could provide assistance. I'm sure there are 
those who are
             experts in these areas who could give advice and 

             In closing, I believe you all would like changes to occur 
in Burma.
             International organizations and foreign individuals have 
been pulling
             the weight for some time. You have now been equipped to 
help and you
             have access to unbelievable wealth. It is time for many of 
you to put
             all differences and all selfish pursuits aside and begin to 
             Burma. The time is ripe to begin rebuilding...

             By all means, further this discussion of providing 
educational materials
             to Burmese refugees. Speak with the universities and 
community action
             groups in your adopted communities to see if they will 
donate some
             expertise or resources.

             If interested in an internship, send your resume to me at:
             Michael E. Jones
             P.O. Box 4
             Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120

             Best of regards to you all.
             Michael E. Jones

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