Film about a bottom-up education movement for migrant and refugee communities at the Thai-Burmese border region.
Mae Sot is a multi-cultural town at the Thai-Burmese border, based around trade, smuggling, illegal work migrants and refugees. The Karen is the largest ethnic minority represented in the area along the border. Mae Sot is a town where the political opposition of Burma either meets or even has put up refuge. International NGOs try to facilitate a desperate situation for around 500,000 displaced Burmese people; they exist to serve the diverse communities made up of those who have fled and continue to flee the oppressive regime and economic distress of Burma.
The majority of Burmese people are excluded from Thai education and the medical systems due to their unclear legal status. An interesting and very creative variety of programmes are in place to support this situation that has actually lasted already for 21 years. International NGOs together with leaders of the Karen have developed educational programmes that allow people to survive the situation and even progress. This system has grown organically from the bottom-up and produced people who’ve gone abroad, graduated, and then returned, to feed back into their community’s educational development. Working in conjunction with NGOs, community educational activists within the refugee camps have developed the Further Studies Programme and the Leadership and Management Training College. What is apparent is the extraordinary value people place on education. People literally cross mine fields to get to the camps where a basic but free education is available; stories that graphically illustrate the profound importance of education as a means of individual and communal empowerment.
The film documents a number of approaches, and portraits of locals and internationals working in the area on community development. It gives an insight into the importance of the international network keeping the world updated of the situation. Media, online learning and the Internet play a key role in this complex situation. The film gives voice to a variety of people: engaged refugee / migrant community leaders, NGO workers such as English teachers, artists and school leaders as well as programme managers. The film will give the ISEA audience an insight into the situation, both from the social networking side, the political and social elements as well as the technical situation. The film and discussion will inform the audience. The presence of Susanne Bosch allows a debate and Q&A session after the film viewing. interface.ulster.ac.uk
- Susanne Bosch is a practicing artist in public, researcher and lecturer, based in INTERFACE at the University of Ulster, Belfast, UK. She lives and works in Belfast and Berlin. Her special interest is on public art in contested space. She usually works on long-term questions. Since her residency in Istanbul in 2003, she looks at OTHERNESS and Migration in contested societies. She is a trained Conflict Consultant and Open Space Facilitator. She has had various grants, residencies and international exhibitions. She has been selected to realize a public art piece for Madrid Abierto 2009-2010. susannebosch.de