21st September, 2017

Tackling poverty and education in Asia

Learning together: School children in Mae Sot
On the ground: Foundation team member talking with a student
Community spirit: Teacher and students at Mae Sot
Feeding the brain: A student tucks in to a hearty feed

In Thailand’s remote Tak province a tiny primary school clings to the side of a gully surrounded by crop covered hills. When it rains the ground gets muddy, really muddy, and so do the classrooms. Inside, the stagnant air is hot and humid and its 69 students have a hard time reading materials that aren’t in their local language.

This school, in the tiny village of Mae Sot, is the focus for the Cotton On Foundation’s latest project in Asia. Our challenge is to improve the school’s facilities so its passionate students (who turn up day-in, day-out, always with a smile and ready to learn) have everything they need to get the education they deserve.

Positioned along the Thai-Myanmar border, Tak province is a diverse region and a hub for migrants and refugees from Myanmar (formerly Burma).

Our Foundation team first visited the region in 2016 and immediately identified the challenges facing children, especially recent migrants, at the Bwe K’Lar School. By supporting programs that help students overcome language barriers, meet the cost of education and improve health conditions, the Foundation is having a positive impact on the local community and providing a brighter outlook for its youth.

So what does action look like on the ground?

We’ve already started providing healthy and nutritious meals during school hours, serving over 800 meals a month when students were previously eating only two servings of plain rice a day.

The Foundation’s Education Team is collaborating with local teachers to ensure they have the support they need and feel empowered to deliver a quality education across the arts-sport spectrum.

In planning for a sustainable education future, a local architect is drawing up designs for a new school for 200 students, which will begin construction later this year during the dry season.

Our long term goal is to create a network of consistent, quality recognised schools in Tak Province, and to extend the children’s opportunities with the construction of a secondary school.

Andrew Woolcock, our Asia Country Manager, says assisting schools like Bwe K’Lar is just the beginning:

“Through initiatives like The Tak project we’ll continue to partner with teachers and local communities to change the lives of Asia’s most vulnerable youth. In line with the Group’s mission to develop 20,000 educational places across all projects by 2020, we are steadfast as we work together to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life, and ultimately make positive global change.”

Our teams in Asia are on a mission to raise funds to support quality education in Thailand and get this project off the ground!

It is only through the power of our team members and the incredible generosity of our customers across our seven brands that we are able to make projects like this happen.

100% of the proceeds from sales of Cotton On Foundation products sold in over 1,000 stores goes straight back to our global projects.

Learn more about Cotton On Foundation projects around the world.

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