Posted by Roger Lindley

The BEAM Education Foundation was founded in December 2009. BEAM (Bridging Educational Access to Migrants) was created to assist with the unmet needs of Burmese migrant students seeking higher level college preparation courses and advanced vocational skills training. Most students must also work difficult full-time jobs for their livelihood. Before BEAM started migrant worker programs consisted of informal schools geared towards short term basic level courses.

A four person management team of experienced teachers and administrators designed BEAM’s academic, vocational and cultural programs. Prospective students were surveyed to determine their needs and preferences. An advisory team of educational leaders in Chiang Mai provided input and helped guide the process.

The BEAM Education Foundation is a registered non-profit foundation under Thai law. Tuition and textbooks are provided free of charge.

CMIRC's English Language Cultural Club engages students in discussions about various aspects of other cultures and the ethnic cultures of the students. Some areas of discussion are: Home, Folklore, History, Dance, Leadership, Music/Song and Religion. The exchange is led by Rotarian Linda Pfotenhauer with assistance from Rotarians Gary Herman and Roger Lindley and friend of our club Bob Carroll. The exchange sessions occur on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. In addition to cultural exchange, our members help with understanding the social studies portion of the students' General Educational Development (GED) testing. The social studies section covers economics, history, civics and government and geography. The history and civics portions have a significant portion of Canadian and US emphasis.

It is not all study and discussion. On November 24, the BEAM students staged a dance party, inviting CMIRC English Language Cultural Club members. The students took time to individually talk about their specific ethnic groups and sub-groups, clothing and dance. Rotarian Linda (leading the line at right) provided dance demonstration instruction on how to perform line dancing. The students were soon enthusiastically line dancing. A good time for all with a party shutdown time of 2100 so the students could return to  their studies.