While in a minivan taxi to the Malaysian border back in January, I met a fellow traveler from Spain. After sharing my experiences of teaching video production to students in Cambodia, Jose told me about a Spanish organization that collaborates with Burmese refugee schools in northern Thailand. Perhaps they might be interested in having some of their students participate in a similar project, he suggested. Several emails and two months later, I arrived in the border town of Mae Sot, home to an estimated 200,000 refugees, to meet with Mery Viladecas Pascua and Javier Garcia from Colabora Birmania about offering a ‘Tell Your Own Story Project” video workshop to students at School 42KM.
We arrived at School 42KM in a pickup truck. The hour long ride had given me glimpses of Burma across the river. The Headmaster was very busy with meetings, so I spent the morning meeting the students and teachers. Having just finished a week of exams, they were ready to relax. The school is a very simply constructed long building, with five classrooms separated by bamboo partitions. The students and teachers were all EXTREMELY welcoming.
During a meeting with the Headmaster, Assistant Headmaster, teacher/translator Su San, Mery and Javier, it was decided that the fourth and fifth grade students will begin a five day workshop on Monday. Su San and I will teach together which makes me extremely happy. The students have NEVER touched a computer. I’m admittedly nervous about how I will manage to teach the skills in such a short time, but I’m confident in these students.
After the meeting, I showed some of the students two videos by the Cambodian students. Watching them see that Cambodians live similarly to them was incredibly moving:
I asked them if they thought they could make a video like this next week. They told me, “No.”
UPDATE (2 April): The students completed both videos in only 5 days!
Watch the boys’ ‘Proud to Be Burmese’ video, click HERE.
Watch the girls’ ‘A Day in the Life of Wine Ka Byarr, click HERE.