About the Youth Center
The Youth Center is a safe space where students have the opportunity to learn new skills, especially English, and gain the self-confidence necessary for success in their current school and for their future.
In addition to local schools being below average compared to Thai schools nationwide, Shan youth face other difficulties that impede their educational success. Few of the children’s parents speak Thai, which is a huge disadvantage because the language spoken in schools is Thai. Although the students we work with quickly adjust and learn the language, this is still a factor when comparing their test scores to native Thai students. Morever, Shan youth and parents also tell us stories of discrimination in the classroom, and report that they are often written off by teachers and peers.
Teaching in both Thai and English, we promote dual language learning and encourage critical and creative thinking – skills and knowledge that will help students achieve in school, perform better on national tests and contribute to democratic reform if they choose to return to Burma/Myanmar in the future.
The Center is run with help from many fantastic and committed volunteers and our Program Assistant, Tankee. In addition to the focus on English, which is important for our students’ future career options, we have laptops and tablets to develop software and typing skills and to supplement a wide range of activities. Our educational approach combines life skills, creative and critical thinking, and fun.
The Youth Center’s positive impacts are evident not only in the children’s progress, and their families’ and teachers’ positive feedback, but also, the children’s increased attendance and our growing wait-list.
Given the Youth Center’s limited resources, the magnitude of its impact is truly a joy.