Project Umbrella Burma is a small Canadian non-profit organization, founded in 2002. PUB provides direct aid for education and healthcare on the Thai-Burma border. We work with Karen people who are in Thailand as refugees from Myanmar.
Project Umbrella Burma would not exist if it wasn't for the work of Volunteers. Kaw Tha Blay Learning Centre relies on volunteers to teach English and other subjects. Volunteer teachers live at the school and get to know the students in a unique way. We ask for a commitment of three months to provide stability. A basic room and healthy food is provided. Please apply if you have an interest in volunteering with us!
Volunteers and some of the full-time teachers live in the Big House on one side of campus. The house is solid wood. There's a big kitchen, three tile bathrooms, and five bedrooms. You’ll have your own bedroom with a simple wood bed, blankets and mosquito net. Water is piped into the kitchen and bathrooms and from there you’ll use buckets for showers and to flush the Western toilets.
All meals are provided - a healthy diet of rice and a variety of vegetable or fish or meat dishes.
We provide anything as possible as we can for the volunteers. There is no fees for anything.
Sports equipment such as badminton, table tennis, volleyball and football.
We need volunteers to teach English, with support from full-time English teacher Naing Win to guide you through curriculum options and lesson planning. The students range from relatively beginner English to intermediate, and are split into different groups for English classes. You’ll focus on active speaking and listening activities, along with writing assignments and reading exercises. Kaw Tha Blay English classes often draw from various social science topics for content and discussion.
Project Umbrella Burma supports, aids and builds many projects along the Thai-Burma Border. Our main work is with education and healthcare, through the Mae Tao Clinic and the Kaw Tha Blay Learning Centre.
Mae Tao Clinic
Run by renowned Dr. Cynthia Maung, the Mae Tao Clinic is a "complex and fragile" centre to treat Burmese people who have no access to healthcare. Burmese medics and visiting foreign doctors treat people who make the trip across the border from Burma, as well as Burmese migrant workers in Thailand. The Mae Tao Clinic has grown enormously since 1988, providing a range of healthcare, but continues to be dependent on foreign aid and vulnerable to the changing currents of the area. Dr. David Downham performed surgeries and taught medics in the Trauma Department for half of each year since 2001. Close connections to medics continue, and PUB continues to support the Clinic with funds.
Kaw Tha Blay Learning Centre
Karen students from refugee camps or from inside Karen State, Burma, study for two years after completing Grade Ten. The school is run by director Kshakalu and Karen teachers who live at the school with the students. Volunteer teachers are also essential for English and exposure to other valuable subjects. The five main classes at Kaw Tha Blay are Community Health, Computers, Thai, English, and Math. Students learn leadership through special projects, the traditional Done dance, and a strong agricultural program. Our approximately 65 students live in dormitories (two for girls and two for boys). They take classes from 8-3, study for one hour each morning and two hours each night, complete rotating chore duties, play sports, and work together on farming and building. We’re very lucky to have quite reliable satellite internet, a rare opportunity for our students. Computer skills, along with their other learning and experience, make our graduates some of the most educated and knowledgeable youth, with valuable skills for their people. They are focussed on working hard to improve the future of their nation.
Kaw Tha Blay Hostel
Kaw Tha Blay Learning Centre was born in 2005, when a large group of students at the Kaw Tha Blay Hostel in Mae La Refugee Camp graduated from high school, and needed a safe place to spend more time learning. The Hostel still supports around 30 students as they study through school in Mae Lah camp. As they grow up and continue their studies at Kaw Tha Blay Learning Centre, our focus has turned more and more there. It is amazing the difference we have seen in these children, watching them grow up with confidence and hope to be leaders for the Karen people. Recently, the last of the first group who were at the Hostel from the beginning, graduated from Kaw Tha Blay Learning Centre as strong leaders.