The town of Poipet sits on the Cambodia/Thai border, and is a popular gambling destination for Thai tourists. There is a strip of casinos and hotels between the Cambodian and Thai passport controls, meaning Thai people can leave Thailand to gamble but not enter Cambodia. This border town is also used as a important transit point for human trafficking. It presents many risk factors to the people of the Poipet community and surrounds on a daily basis. Children are at risk of being trafficked into Thailand for slave labor, prostitution, drug smuggling and other horrible crimes. School on a Mat provides an opportunity to counter this risk by providing a safe learning environment for children whose parents are often working in Thailand. These children are taught about the dangers of trafficking along with general education.
WHAT WE LIKE ABOUT IT:
Our implementing partners are a grass-roots organisation that conducts many strategic programs along the Cambodia/Thai border. With passionate staff and a heart to help, we have seen the high quality of the people and their work. School on the Mat contributes to protecting children from, and education them and their families about trafficking. We particularly like the focus on using low-cost, easily replicable solutions suited to the local conditions. School on a Mat was designed to get schools to where children are to decrease their travel time and increase their attendance. We have partnered with this organisation for a number of years and appreciate their hearts and their continuous innovation and drive to improve.
The cost for school on a mat is AUD45,000 for the last project funding cycle. This provides support for not just one but ten schools in five communities surrounding and in Poipet. We are aiming to finish funding this project by early December, when the school year finishes, ready for us to start Phase II at the start of the school year in January.
An estimated 80% of children trafficked from Cambodia pass through the main street of Poipet en-route to their destination. This place is the gateway to Thailand and is a strategic center – in spite of its lack of infrastructure! Teaching the children about the dangers they each face is an important strategy for combating this evil trade in human lives. Schooling which is quality, with teachers who care, is also a gaping absence in this area, with government teachers lacking motivation.