Education is the Key to Freedom

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As the great inventor, George Washington Carver once said, “Education is the key to  unlock the golden door of freedom.” This quote paints a vivid picture of the situation in the Thai/Burma border. For many people in developed areas, education is a basic need. It is safe to say that it is considered a right in most places. This is, however, not the case in the Thai/Burma border region.

For decades, the Thai/Burma border region has been plagued by ethnic conflicts. As with any conflict-afflicted areas, development stagnated for the entire period of the conflicts. This resulted in the continuous deterioration of social and economic infrastructure in the area leaving a vacuum that was filled by criminal organisations. These criminal organisations have been engaging in human trafficking, narcotics trade, slave labour, and child prostitution. The victims in all of this? Thousands of children in the region with no access to education and necessary infrastructure.

Taking action

 

A few years ago, residents in one of the small villages in the Thai/Burma border region got fed up with the lack of schools in the area. They couldn’t stand by while their children lacked basic education and crime thrived in the area. Faced by the glaring threat of losing their children to all the criminal activities in the region, the only solution was constructing a school themselves. They aimed to pull together their resources since they couldn’t get any outside support and use that to build the school. Unfortunately, their resources weren’t enough to complete the school, and they got stuck halfway. Their efforts, however, didn’t go unnoticed. Recently, we partnered up with the GENESIS Network to help the community complete constructing the school.

We need your help

 

You see, education in this part of the world is a matter of life and death. Six years of school in this region reduces a child’s risk of falling into child prostitution by 95%. It also reduces the chances of child trafficking by 70%. Education is the only sustainable and long-term solution to the darkness that threatens this region. The school we’re building will provide education to over 300 children every year. By getting a basic education, kids in this region will acquire the essential skills necessary to earn a living and strengthen the local economy. In turn, the children can implement what they learn to improve the region both socially and economically.

Currently, we are working with local volunteers and donors, but we need more support to finish building the classrooms, outfit the school with books and teaching materials, and make the school capable of educating 300 kids. Your support is crucial in our effort to uplift this community that has been downtrodden for years. We need your assistance to save these children from the darkness in this region. We need your help in giving these children a future.

How can you help?

 

We need donations from you to keep the community’s dream of getting children quality education alive. A contribution of $50 can buy a hundred books. $2,000 can build an entire classroom. Every dollar counts. You can donate any amount you’re comfortable with. Whether $10 or $1,000, your donation will go a long way in fulfilling this community’s lifelong dream. Head over to our GoFundMe page and donate whatever amount you can. You can also follow our Facebook page to stay updated on the project’s progress.

Our promise

 

Our promise to our donors and the community is to build a fully equipped six-classroom school with the capacity to accommodate over 300 students every year. In turn, the school will provide both the children and the community with exponential opportunities for growth. Ultimately, by empowering the children with education, we will have enabled the community as a whole to stand on its own economically. Education will also give them the tools they need to fight the inhumane criminal activities by reducing their vulnerability and the likelihood of exploitation.

See, education is indeed the key to freedom for this community, and you can join us in their fight for freedom. Just donate whatever you can, no matter how small or large the amount might be. In case of any questions or clarifications about the project, make sure to contact us either through the blog or via our Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Echo International Aid: How it All Began

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It has been a while since we updated our blog, and for that, we apologise. A lot has been going on but we remain on track, and our mission to help remains the same. In an ABC radio interview earlier this year, Echo International founder, Jeremi Wallace spoke to Michelle White about the things that led him to start Echo International Aid.

Destiny

It all began in 2014 when Echo International founder, then a mechanic, Jeremi Wallace was on the Burma/Thailand border. There he met Madavee whose descent was of the Karen people of the Eastern mountain region in Burma. Unknown to Jeremi at the time, the Karen people were undergoing a humanitarian crisis at the time. The crisis stemmed from a civil war that has lasted for close to seventy years.

Jeremi believed that the universe had a plan for him to be there. He decided to spend time with the Karen people in the jungle villages where he interacted and connected with them. Jeremi went on to spend six months with the Karen people. It was at that time that he witnessed the suffering that they were subjected to.

The conflict had displaced thousands of the Karen people with some of them fleeing into the jungles and others into the neighboring country. Witnessing all this suffering affected Jeremi so much that he decided to come back to Australia with the goal of starting a charity that could help the Burmese/Thai border communities.

Bold step

Yes, starting a charity might seem like a bold and somewhat extreme step to take. However, drastic times call for drastic measures. When Jeremi came back to Australia, he contacted a few of his close friends and organised a fundraiser. The success of the fundraiser paved way came the birth of Echo International Aid. Over the last five years since its founding, Echo International Aid has helped support the remote communities of the Thai/Burma border region by providing scholarships, emergency medical support, community support, and assisting displaced persons to obtain citizenships.

The community

It has not been easy for the people who get displaced every day by the civil conflict. Aiding these people within their communities while preserving their culture and keeping families together has helped make their situation a bit bearable. We intend to continue contributing to making sure that the ethnic minorities have a life where they have access to basic needs and where their rights are respected.

You can listen to the whole interview between Michelle White and Jeremi Wallace here.

Baby Star makes a full recovery!

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We have some wonderful news! Baby Star has made a full recovery! Her family are absolutely over the moon and immensely grateful.

Last year when we met baby Star and her family it was clear she needed urgent medical attention so we rushed her and her family straight to the closest hospital. She stayed in there for one month but has since returned home happy and healthy and the family are all back together. Read More

Thank you for your generosity – emergency medical aid appeal

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Our 2 week emergency medical aid appeal has come to an end, achieving the target needed to deliver critical medical aid for Kru (ครู – teacher) Somsak.

We want to take this opportunity to thank all that supported so generously, we could not have done this without you. We are forever grateful for your ongoing support and want you to know that it changes the lives of others in ways you can only imagine.

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Kathmandu School Latest Update

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EDUC-Nepal is a school in Kathmandu that provides a free education to underprivileged children from the Basundhara squatters’ area who would not otherwise have the opportunity to go to school. Each day the students of EDUC are given a hot lunch, clean drinking water, a uniform, school supplies and regularly health checks. There are currently around 70 students enrolled at EDUC, all crammed into four classrooms.

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Citizenship support update

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Our Citizenship Support Program is assisting displaced persons become permanent citizens.

We have an exciting announcement direct from the border of Thailand and Burma, one of our citizenship and scholarship support beneficiaries has just been granted Thai citizenship. It comes after 2 years of hard work from the beneficiary and their family, Madavee from Kidlaunch Thailand, Echo International Aid and most importantly your support and generosity. Without your support this would not have been possible.

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Please help with our Emergency Medical Aid Appeal

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Kru (ครู – teacher) Somsak is a 53 year old teacher from Sanglkaburi, Kanchanaburi on the Thai/Burma border who has fallen ill on a recent trip to a local village. He is of Karen ethnicity living in Thailand due to the ongoing conflicts in Burma/Myanmar. Doctors initially thought he had consumed unclean water which made him sick. He was taken to Sangklaburi hospital where they made the assessment that they could not care for him there with their facilities. He has now been sent to Kanchanburi  hospital (4 hours away) where he was put into ICU for further tests and high level care.
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