WelCom April 2019:
Ben Prendergast, Yr 13
During the 2018–2019 summer holidays, eight students and two teachers from St Patrick’s College Wellington went on a two-week school trip to visit the Marist Mission in Ranong, Thailand.
Their purpose was to experience what life is like for Burmese migrants, see Marist faith in action and teach English to the Burmese migrant and Thai students at the school run by the Marist Asia Foundation.
The Ranong Marist school has close links with St Patrick’s College because of the financial contribution to the development of the school back in 2012. There is also a connection through St Patrick’s College teacher Mr Atkinson who had previously lived and worked at the mission. The school’s goal is to provide education for the young Burmese migrants of Ranong.
Ranong is one of the main crossing points on the Myanmar-Thailand border. Thailand offers a better life for Burmese and a higher pay. However, there is also discrimination against the Burmese, meaning they are often paid unfairly, live in harsh conditions, offered fewer jobs and are forced into dangerous industries such as fishing or working in charcoal factories.
The most important part of the trip for the students was experiencing the living and working conditions and seeing the difficulty of the lives of the students, compared to us living in New Zealand.
Back at St Patrick’s College the students are thinking of ways to help out the community and continue their relationship with Ranong.
One way to help the Marist Asia Foundation is to donate to https://maristasiafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/smallchangebigdifference-nz.pdf.
It costs $240 a year for a child to go to school. If you are interested in volunteering as a teacher or want more information email Fr Frank at email@example.com (Rector of Marist Asia Foundation).