BPCA have initiated a free course in the Thai language for asylum seekers in Bangkok. Working in conjunction with Rev Tim Eaddy and Christchurch
in Bangkok, we have begun the classes in hope that learning the language will not only assist struggling families to cope with everyday life in a foreign
land, but also introduce a new era of acceptance by Thai communities.
Suspicions against incoming migrants are a well known phenomena across the globe, but one way to reduce the fears and anxiety that naturally beset
the human mind from an unknown factor, is to improve integration. Friendships are nigh on impossible without the ability to communicate, improved
understanding of the local dialect will not only enable asylum seekers to build relationships with local people, but will evidence their desire to
be part of a community. Moreover any children that learn Thai are actually permitted to attend local Thai schools for free, which would provide
many beleaguered families with an opportunity for good quality education for their deprived children.
Many Asylum seekers in Thailand have lived in bangkok for over three years, however with few opportunities to learn the local language they are finding
themselves at a real disadvantage, exploitation is rife but worse for those who cannot read or write Thai. Despite knowing about this vulnerability
few asylum seekers have learnt the Thai language due to inability to afford classes and a belief that their asylum will only be short term – which
is a false assumption with waits of up to six years for refugee status determination.
We spoke to Reverend Tim Eaddy at Christchurch Bangkok about our desire to initiate classes and he was able to source a teacher within weeks, which
the BPCA are now funding. The classes have been a real success with clear assimilation of the Thai Langauge for all participants on the course.
During December Wilson Chowdhry visited the school to see how well classes were progressing. He was amazed by the level of understanding participants
had achieved in just a few weeks of the scheduled classes. Mr Chowdhry, said:
“I met with a senior protection officer at the UNHCR during November during the meeting we were advised that Thai Schools are open to any children irrespective of citizenship. Moreover the Thai government has agreed not to arrest any asylum seeker children or parents around schools. Equipped with this knowledge and the fact that few asylum seekers in Thailand speak the native tongue, creating alienation and conflict, we decided to embark on a asylum Thai language learning programme.”
“I was thoroughly impressed by the level of learning exhibited by students attending our Thai classes. Students when questioned said they were more confident when buying things and undertaking many everyday tasks which is exactly what we set out to achieve. They seemed confident in class and the classroom environment was safe and full of great camaraderie. A surprise visit by Rev Tim Eaddy who impressed with his ability to speak Thai has encouraged students to improve themselves too. Many have already started to reach out to local Thai people and hope to make stronger community bonds as their language improves.
We would like to expand these classes to two other areas, but need help in finding willing local Thai teachers and the funds to pay for their services. If you are aware of anyone who could help please advise. If you would like to donate funds to help extend our provision of Thai classes please (click here)
Students joined by Reverend Tim Eaddy
An exciting role play evidenced the good assimilation of Thai language.