About 10 km away from Sangkhlaburi, in the middle of bush and rainforest, the nun Maechee Pimjai Maneerat has been running the training center "Hilltribe Learning Centre" for stateless children between the ages of 5 and 14 in her small temple complex for almost 20 years.
During the more than 60-year military dictatorship in neighboring Burma, also known as Myanmar, thousands of people from ethnic minorities fled from the Burmese army to safe Thailand. Today, they are scattered far and wide and live in partly inaccessible areas. Tolerated by the Thai government, they are excluded from state aid such as education and medical care.
In order to give the children of these stateless families a future, in 1998 Pimjai Maneerat began to give school lessons in her small temple with simple means, but above all to teach the children the Thai language, with the aim that they might be able to attend Thai schools in the future.
Because most of the families of these children live in the widely dispersed area, she also gives the children shelter during the week, provides them with food, clothing and, if necessary, basic medical care. Malaria and infectious diseases caused by contaminated drinking water are common in this area.
In the meantime, there are about 50 children that Pimjai Maneerat takes care of and teaches alone, with the help of a few volunteer teachers.