FilmAsia registered the Sermpanya Foundation in Thailand in 2015 in order to extend our reach to support programmes operating outside the refugee camp environment. Sermpanya was chosen as the Thai name of the FilmAid Asia Foundation, and translates as ‘sharing wisdom’ or ‘encouraging knowledge’.
Due to the porous nature of the Thailand Myanmar border and the creation of a Special Economic Zone spanning several ‘Friendship Bridges’ that join the two countries - thousands of Myanmar nationals cross the border every year, becoming migrant workers in Thailand. Migrant workers bring their families with them and now over 60 Migrant Learning Centres exist along the border ro support their children’s education. The Migrant Learning Centres provide an opportunity for education for migrant children who are not eligible to enrol in the Thai school system.
Since June 2015 we have been bringing our educational mobile screenings to the Migrant Learning Centres and are now reaching 35 schools. The Migrant Learning Centres are supported by non-profit organisations - both local and international - and we work in partnership with these organisations
OUR HEAD OFFICE - MAE SOT, THAILAND
The Mae Sot head office supports a staff of 7 Thai and Myanmar nationals and co-ordinates all the programmes in the 9 camps, in Tak Province and across the border in Myanmar.
In Mae La shelter camp we support 11 staff with 16 screening staff in the remaining 8 camps. We support other refugees as daily workers, as actors, voice over artists etc.
There are 9 camps spread North to South along the Thai Myanmar border - Ban Mai Nai Soi (Site 1), Ban Mae Surin (Site 2), Mae La Oon, Mae Ra Ma Luang, Umpiem Mai, Nu Po, Mae La, Tham Hin and Ban Don Yang. FilmAid Asia has teams in each camp with the main base in Mae La camp.The northern camps are particularly remote and some cannot be reached during the rainy season.
OUT PATIENT DEParTments (OPD) in Ante natal clinics ALONG THE Border
Sermpanya Foundation is supporting OPD patients by bringing Mother and Child health care videos in local languages to be watched while waiting for appointments.
IN PATIENT AREAS (IPD) in TB TREATMENT clinic
TB treatment is can last many months and Sermpanya Foundation has provided a television kit to provide residents of the TB Clinic to watch educational, informational and entertainment videos.
TRAVELLING CINEMA IN THAI VILLAGES
Our mobile cinema has brought night screenings to Karen Thai Villages with an emphasis on sustainable agriculture education and health topics. Future projects plan to tackle alcohol and drug issues.
In 2011 there were over 150,000 refugees in the 9 camps, but by 2016, with resettlement and the change in government across the border, refugee numbers have fallen - according to UNHCR figures there are still nearly 98,000 remaining in the camps. Those who lost their homes and livelihoods, those who were disabled by landmines and attacks, those who are born in the camps - all are facing the challenges of finding a way to repatriate as ceasefires break down, the Burmese military continue to confiscate land and terrorise villages, and building of civil society and local infrastructure does not materialise.
OBJECTIVES of THE FOUNDATION
To disseminate educational tools for the benefit of the target beneficiaries.
To implement activities dedicated to the communities’ benefit.
To work in close cooperation and collaboration with other organizations and partners for the communities’ benefit.
To implement activities not linked to political considerations.
To promote and improve the living conditions, specifically primary public health, vocational training, learning and education, community development and environment protection, to vulnerable communities.
To relieve poverty, suffering, hardship and distress among vulnerable communities, with emphasis on women and children.
To promote and support education and learning for children, students, adults and for the public benefit.