The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) does secular work in various places such as the Shan and Ranong districts of the border between Thailand and Burma, with focus on providing education for the refugee children to help them achieve better futures.
Ranong in Particular
- The majority of the Burmese in Ranong are from the Mon ethnic group.
- They work mostly in fishing, construction, rubber plantations or massage parlours.
- Although their wages are less than the prevailing wages for Thai workers, they can earn more in Ranong than in Burma.In August 2005, the Thai Cabinet approved a resolution which allows all children in Thailand equal access to educational opportunities, including migrant children, who were previously deprived of this right.
- However many obstacles remain for approximately 950 migrant children to attend Thai schools, including high costs of school fees, lack of Thai language skills, discretion of schools to refuse the admission of Burmese students, resistance among migrants to losing their cultural identity, and fear of arrest and deportation.
- Since 2006, the program has emphasized the learning of Thai language so as to promote Burmese children in attending mainstream Thai schools.