EU, IOM Thailand to Help Undocumented Migrant Children Access Education

Posted: 
01/24/17
Themes: 
Community Stabilization, Migration and Youth

Thailand - Vulnerability assessments conducted by IOM and partner organizations have found that Myanmar Muslims in Thailand and disadvantaged Thais lack access to basic services, including education and healthcare.

The assessments were carried out as part of the EUR 2.83 million (USD 3.15 million) project Promoting Stability, Well-being and Harmony for Myanmar Muslim and Host Communities in Thailand. Funded by the European Union (EU) with 10 percent co-funding from the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), the project aims to support the well-being of Myanmar Muslims and their host communities in the provinces of Tak, Ranong and Phang Nga.

EU Delegation in Thailand Head of Cooperation Jerome Pons said: “The EU strongly believes that education is a fundamental right that should be enjoyed by all. Investing in access to education for children today is an investment in the future.”

“Every child has the right to go to school. IOM aims to work with stakeholders to help undocumented Myanmar Muslim children overcome barriers and have a chance at a brighter future. Access to education plays a key role in reducing their vulnerabilities,” said IOM Thailand Chief of Mission Dana Graber Ladek.

Today (24/01), IOM is organizing the first Project Steering Committee meeting to seek recommendations on project activities from key stakeholders, including representatives from the EU, Royal Thai Government, NGOs and community leaders.

Chaired by the EU, the meeting will provide a unique platform for government officials from both ministry and provincial levels to interact with grassroots organizations, share best practices and discuss gaps between policy and implementation when providing assistance to vulnerable migrants.

Among the issues to be discussed is access to education for undocumented children – one of five key sectors the project will focus on. Despite access to free basic education for all migrant children, regardless of their legal status, migrant families continue to face obstacles that prevent their children from enrolling in Thai schools. This includes a lack of documentation and awareness of available avenues of assistance. 

In addition to promoting education for migrant children, funds will be provided to local NGOs and community-based organizations to carry out activities related to vocational training, legal assistance and healthcare, while IOM will directly implement key water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities.

For further information please contact Chiaki Lee at IOM Thailand, Tel: +66 2 343 9354, Email: clee@iom.int  

Undocumented migrant children in Thailand often lack access to basic services like education. Photo: Thierry Falise / IOM