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Voices from the Border: Burmese Students in Thailand Begin a Video Workshop

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. 

The Students:

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.

The Headmaster and Assistant Headmaster Watching Videos from Cambodian Students

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.”

We’ll see

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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.




  • cara

    Hi guys the video was amazing. Was it fun to make? Have you ever seen a ipad before this? What grade are you in? I am in 6th grade. Bye

  • Reiley

    Our friends’ in Cambodia,
    I watched some of your video’s and they were really good. For first timers, your are already pro’s. I am in 6th grade and my name is Reiley. I love to dance and my friends and I make memorable dances maybe you should try. To make a dance this way all you have to do is play a song (we like the song “What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction) and just dance. If you see someone next to you doing a cool dance join in with them. And there you have it.

  • Catherine Benjamin


    My name is Catherine, I really enjoyed your videos and I thought they were really interesting. I enjoyed learning about your life and I hope that soon we can post a video on youtube for you guys and tell you how our daily life is.


  • Elizabeth

    Hi guys! I really liked watching your videos, I thought that they were very cool and really amazing to see what you guys created. What grade are you guys in? I am in 6th Grade. Was the video easy or hard to make? Did you have fun making the video? It looked like you had a great time. I saw all of the videos in my computer class and in my morning meeting at the beginning of the day. The whole middle school saw it and clapped at the end of each video. We loved it! Bye!