This week sees the 2013 UN International Youth Day, and this year the theme is ‘Youth Migration: Moving Development forward’.
Not only is the day focussing on raising awareness about the issues facing young migrant people, but the UN is launching their 2013 report on Youth Migration and Development, which is planned to be a ‘multidimensional account of the life experiences of young migrants and young people affected by migration’.
Although sometimes when we think of children we tend to think of the little tots, the UN’s definition of a child is anyone under the age of 18 and we believe every child has the right to a childhood, including the teenagers!
At the Child Crisis Centre in Mae Sot, Thailand which we support, there are 72 migrant children that have escaped persecution in neighboring Burma, most arriving without their parents. Many of the children at the Centre are in their teens, so it’s not just education and play we’re focussing on.. but subjects that relate specifically to the 11-18’s age group.
To do this we have bought in a trained facilitator who helps the young people discuss team work, resolving conflicts, understanding their bodies, expressing emotions, how to have self confidence and how to set and achieve goals.
Yeye Win, the head caregiver in the Centre has noticed a marked improvement in the confidence of the young people involved in this programme, observing that children attending the training have become more willing to speak with staff about their thoughts and concerns. She has also seen improvement in conflict resolution and teamwork amongst the children.
Saewin is 15. Lack of food for he and his five siblings caused them to flee Burma when he was 13. He feels the team building activities have improved the togetherness of the teens at the Centre and he particularly enjoyed the task of planning their own picnic with a budget to buy their own food.
Yadanar Phoo has just turned 18 and has been at the Centre for 5 years. She has also migrated from Burma. After all she’s been through, she describes how the development course has helped her to handle stress and relax. She loved the stretching yoga exercises they learned and says she feels better prepared to handle the stresses of life now. Yadanar Phoo is also using methods from the ‘how to set goals’ discussion to begin to plan for her life after the CCC.
We’re delighted to be seeing these young migrant people moving on and preparing for their futures. Not only this, but the project as a whole is also strengthening and nearing the time where it can run independently. Find out more about the work in Thailand, and consider donating to our work.