On Sunday we had a catch up day and a visit to the border market on the Moei River which forms the border between Thailand and Burma, where many young Burmese children live in the area and survive the best they know how with little support. On our way back from the market we visited a Wat where Burmese migrants are living. After hearing their tragic stories, we gave a small donation and handed out balloons to the children - which meant we rode off (yes, we're on bicycles!) to the sounds of 'squeaking' balloons and giant smiles. :)
On Monday we rode our bikes to Hsa Thoo Lei Learning Centre, dodging rainstorms and pot holes, disposable raincoats flapping. The route, which normally takes 15 minutes to drive took 3/4 hour, so slightly damp, and very windswept we arrived. Hsa Thoo Lei is one of the migrant learning centres in Mae Sot, educating over 700 children, nearly 300 of these living in the boarding house attached to the centre. Our focus was to meet with some of the administrative staff to talk about the projects WWM are currently running, and possible new ones, and to be updated on the current situation. All discussions here now are focused on how the fighting inside Burma is causing hundreds of children to flee across the border, accompanied only by their teachers. While it has been reported in the newspapers here that thousands are fleeing into Thailand, the plight of the children is not mentioned. Everyone who works with children here are scrambling to find money for food, blankets, water, clothing and medicines. Small school boarding houses along the border are finding their numbers are rapidly increasing since the fighting along the border has increased in intensitity. We've made plans to visit some of these schools on Wednesday. We finished our meeting having established a plan to increase Hsa Thoo Lei's library with English language books, visited the new mushroom house, and discussed the possibility of the girls crocheting christmas stars, and making bracelets which will be used to fund raise by EMPOWA back in Australia.