By Jerry Nelson
Preparing for a Prevention Project: One of the highlights of our September trip was a meeting we had with Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) staff about a future project to train migrant children about the dangers of human trafficking and how to avoid being trapped. The training will be a separate phase of a larger project throughout Thailand. It will be sponsored by several Rotary clubs and coordinated through the Rotary Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS). (More information about RAGAS can be found in the story about RAGAS below.)
The prosthetic lab at Mae Tao Clinic finished the training for technicians who have gone back to Burma and are setting up two prosthetic labs, one in Karenni State and one in Karen State. We also had an opportunity to see Burma Children’s Medical Fund staff using 3d printers to build prosthetic limbs. Sadly, there are many land mines in Burma and much need for prosthetic limbs.
As of this writing the Child Development Center (CDC) will re-open and school will begin on 1 October. Part of the explanation for the delay is that the border remains closed due to COVID-19. Most of the students have family ties in Myanmar. The Thai Government schools in Mae Sot have been open for some time.
On our brief visit to the MTC training department we saw first-hand one of the consequences of COVID-19. Normally they would have four or five training sessions in progress, but there have been no new classes since March, except for the Mother Child Health Care (midwife) training which is in progress.
The Unclear Future: We will be discussing possible support activities going forward and we know and very much appreciate that Rotarians and friends of Mae Tao Clinic from around the world are anxious to help. As of now, the next tour dates are undefined. We hope to return in December, but will hold off making any commitments this early.
Editor's note: Jerry Nelson is the RAGAS (Rotary Action Group Against Slavery) Coordinator for Thailand, Charter Member of the The Rotary Club Ending Trafficking, an Honorary Member of Chiang Mai International Rotary Club, and a Mae Tao Clinic Volunteer. Contact him at +66 (0) 89 556-4293 or firstname.lastname@example.org