Have you heard of “migrant children”? Migrant children refer to children who are on the move, live and study in a country or area other than they were born. They move because of conflict, poverty, climate change, or better education and occupation opportunity. Yet, they are vulnerable who may encounter danger, detention and discrimination in their journeys. Therefore, Save the Children Hong Kong launched “Reaching Education for All Children in Thailand” (REACT) programme, helping migrant children in Thailand who face barriers to education due to language, poverty, and their undocumented status. 

Chow Lay is a 19-year-old Burmese girl moved from Yangon to Thailand when she was three years old with her family. Her parents work in agriculture. Despite financial difficulties, her parents initially sent her back to Myanmar, but due to high cost of transportation and difficulties in resources transfer, her parent decided to bring her back to Thailand to attend a Thai school when Chow Lay was 7 years old.  

“At that time, we were receiving only 70 THB (about HK$16) per day for our work. Many parents could not afford to send their children to school.” Chow Lay’s father recalls their challenges before joining the programme.

The REACT programme aims to support Thailand’s Education for All (EFA) policy by improving access to quality basic education for migrant children aged 3-18 years in Tak and Ranong Provinces, Chow Lay has been able to attend school since grade 4. REACT provided her with transportation support, as well as uniform and school supplies. 

Thanks to the programme, Chow Lay is on track to graduate. Her aspiration is to become a nurse assistant and make long-term contributions to Thailand, as she is grateful for the opportunities it has afforded her. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends at school, studying her favorite subject, English, and playing the guitar. However, she has sadly faced discrimination from some teachers who treat migrant students differently from Thai students. Despite these challenges, Chow Lay firmly believes that all migrant children deserve the right to education. She hopes to inspire others to complete their education and obtain certificates. 

There are many children who still have problems with enrolling in Thai schools, and who have problems with income.” Chow Lay said.

Education is every child’s brightest hope for a better future. All children should have the right to learn from a quality basic education. However, millions of children around the world remain out of school. At Save the Children, we strive to ensure that all children will learn from a quality basic education. Your support to our work can bring children a brighter future.