Posted by Jerry Nelson
The GED Fundraiser for MTC's Child Development Center Students was a Great Success!
We raised 70,000 THB! ($2,187.50*) Many thanks to all who contributed. Because of your incredible generosity we will be able to fund 7 GED tests this year and assist with the coming year! I totally believe in transparency, so here is what came in and what went out:
Crowd Funding (Individuals chose anonymity)
$400 USD @ 32THB *
Chiang Mai International Rotary Club
Rotary Club of Bangkok South
GED Test for Students at MTC/CDC
from current PRE-GED Class at CDC
GED Test for Students at BEAM
Former CDC students now at BEAM
Partial Scholarship for PRE-GED student
Students pay regular tuition of 200 per month.  Scholarship covers pre-GED fee.
Full Scholarship for PRE-GED student
Students on full scholarship
GED Study Books for PRE-GED Class
Depends on exchange rate GED Tests
(* For ease of explanation and budgeting I chose to calculate the costs using the Rotary March 2018 exchange rate of 32 THB per 1 USD. In the end the exact costs will vary. The difference in actual and official rates will be added or subtracted to the GED Study Books for PRE-GED line.  The total of 70,000 THB will remain firm.)
Birth Registration is our Next Project.  On 15 March, Rotarian Joel Lupro and I met with MTC staff and then with Dr. Cynthia Maung. Of course, funding concerns is still a huge concern. There are many facets where Mae Tao Clinic needs help, but we have decided to stay on course to support the birth registration efforts.
So, what’s the big deal with birth registration? In Western Thailand’s Tak province there are some 300,000 refugees/migrants.  More than 6,000 babies are born to migrant and refugee parents there every year, including 2,500 births at Mae Tao Clinic alone. Some 1,500 are born at Shoklu Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) and another 1,500 at local hospitals. These statistics do not include the many babies who are born at home in villages on both sides of the border. Thai law requires that babies be registered within 15 days of birth. Those who are not registered are stateless!
Mae Tao Clinic’s Child Protection Department manages the birth registration office at Mae Tao Clinic, ensuring that each baby is afforded a Thai birth certificate. However, there are many born elsewhere who are having difficulty being registered.   
Birth registration and documentation are fundamental rights to which all children are entitled and MTC has worked collaboratively with the Thai government to ensure that all children born at MTC have access to the registration process.
MTC birth registration numbers have steadily increased over the years since the initial inception of the program in 2008; during 2017, 94% babies born at MTC received official birth registration documentation.  Birth registration ensures that children who grow up in Thailand can gain access to health and education services. Children who have a recognized identity have reduced risk of human trafficking, child labor and exploitation.
MTC's birth registration service provides administration duties, translation and interpretation services and technical support for families to register the birth of their child at Mae Tao Clinic. Children born outside of the clinic can also be referred to receive documentation from the Committee for the Protection and Promotion of Child Rights (CPPCR), if they are presented within 15 days of birth. CPPCR also keeps a Child Record for all children under 15 years of ago who do not possess any form of documentation. This network is critical for those children who are most vulnerable and may have been displaced, abandoned or orphaned during decades of unrest inside Myanmar. This helps to protect children with no family or kin from trafficking, child labor, early marriage and other very serious forms of child abuse. This process is also important for these children's futures and ensures that the potential for reunification of some these families remains a possibility.
In the near future, MTC will collaborate with CPPCR to conduct meetings with the Myanmar government to advocate for the rights of Burmese children holding Thai Birth Registration to access Burmese citizenship.