|A student girl in Dongmafai classroom. UNICF helps bring school to hundreds of ethnic children living in the remote area of Thailand. © UNICEF/Thailand/2008/M.Thomas|
(The story was published in the Bangkok Post on October 9, 2008)
MAE HONG SON, Thailand – As the heavy morning mist begins to lift from the emerald green hills, small groups of children can be seen descending the steep and muddy footpaths that lead to this tiny hamlet in the rugged highlands of Mae Hong Son’s Khunyuam district.
Most of the children come from the homes that dot Ban Mae Surin Noi’s hillsides or other nearby villages, but others have walked for kilometres, waking up well before dawn to start their journey. Their destination on this rain-swept morning is a simple but solid three-room structure with rough plank floors, partial bamboo walls and a tin roof.