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Hope fades for migrant children

Bangkok Post, Thailand, 13 December 2021 - Once a happy-go-lucky fifth-grader who studied at a migrant learning centre in Mae Sot, Min* opts to sniff glue in his free time. By doing so, he wishes to momentarily forget the enormous responsibility of bringing food to the table by working long shifts at a local slaughterhouse after his parents were laid off due to the impact of Covid-19.

With no money to purchase a smartphone and WiFi, the chances of continuing his education via online learning quickly faded, while attempts to conduct home-based learning by social workers also was short-lived. Having entered the child labour force to support his family during the first wave, Min suffers from a host of medical issues but doesn't have the resources to get treated.

One of the few that was able to work through the pandemic was Karen migrant worker Jor Gay Ler, father of a nine-year-old girl, who noted that his daughter's emotional and physical health has suffered greatly since Thai schools closed indefinitely due to Covid-19.

She has become very rebellious and refuses to obey. She shows signs of anxiety and aggressive behaviour. Her overall health has also deteriorated, however, the health insurance we have does not cover such medical conditions. Keeping up with online learning has become an uphill task because both my wife and I do not read and write Thai well. I don't know who to turn to for help. All I can hope is for schools to open soon," he said.



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