Posted by Jerry Nelson
We had a marvelous tour of Mae Tao Clinic 20 – 24 November.  Rotarians from four Rotary Clubs gathered on Wednesday 20 November and had a lovely dinner at Khao Mao Khao Fang in Mae Sot: Roger and Carol Ward from the Rotary Club of Aireborough, Leeds,United Kingdom; Richard Jones, Reetika Paris and her husband Sonny from the Rotary Club of Royal Hua Hin, Thailand; Thu Zaw from the Rotary Club of Yangon, Myanmar; and myself enjoyed getting to know each other over dinner. (we're all shown in the photo, along with our excellent van driver)
 
On Thursday morning we toured the old clinic and noticed many training sessions and saw how the site is also now used to house many people who are involved with the clinic.
 
Then, we went to new clinic and were given a tour of the facility as it serves the migrant population today. We were fortunate enough to have Dr. Cynthia join us for the update meeting.
 
After lunch we visited the Child Development Center and learned about that project in quite a bit of detail.  The entire pre-GED class was invited to join us for the briefing.  The room was packed and full of young energy! This is where the magic happened.  Young Htee Khu Paw told us she wanted to study in India.  Reetika Paris, who happens to be Indian, told her that if she studied hard, passed the GED and was otherwise eligible, she would see to it that her dream would come true. The power of Human Kindness through Rotary is amazing! (Pictured at left at Reetika and Htee Khu Paw at Passport Restaurant at Thankgsiving dinner.)
 
The briefing environment was indicative of the very busy pace they keep; during the briefing we were joined by officials from the Tak province government who were there to certify the CDC Nursery School. (students shown at right) It all went very well.   
 
That evening we went to the Passport Restaurant at the Hospitality & Catering Training Center (below) where we enjoyed great fellowship and an American Thanksgiving Dinner. It was a great experience for all.   Several people commented that they had never had an opportunity to participate in such a dinner.
 
The next morning our group had an opportunity to observe a status report meeting at Committee for Protection and Promotion of Child Rights (C.P.P.C.R)  Representatives from Mae Tao Clinic and other community based organizations reported on violations of child rights and their solutions. One problem that seems to be endemic is child beggars at the border. We were reminded that these children are controlled by gangs in Miwaddy.  The bottom line:  please do NOT give to these beggars.  The work being done to protect children by C.P.P.C.R. is truly admirable.
 
Our last meeting was to discuss the possibility of Rotary Global Grants to support the Mae Tao Clinic. Possible projects which meet Rotary International standards include GED scholarships, Health Workers Training, Child Protection Training.  Both training ideas would include elements of capacity building to ensure sustainability.  We are actively seeking international partners!  

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