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The Japanese Government provides grant assistance for Libraries in Myanmar Refugee Camps

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The Government of Japan is extending Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects in connection with the "The Non-formal Education Project for maintaining traditional culture" project. Mr. Jun Niimi, Minister of the Embassy of Japan, and Ms. Aki Nakahara, Director of the Myanmar Refugee Project Office, Shanti Volunteer Association (SVA), signed a contract to this effect on May 29, 2007 at the Japanese Embassy.

At this moment the number of Myanmar Refugees in Thailand is over 150,000. They have no prospect of repatriation and the inflow is still continuing. Children born in refugee camps account for 20% of the refugee population as the existence of the camps has been prolonged, and the loss of cultural identity becomes a cause for concern.

Under the auspices of the UNHCR, the SVA initiated library activities by setting up 23 libraries in seven refugee camps in September 2000. So far they have provided literacy education to complement basic school education, making information available in the form of written materials: picture books, academic books, novels, and magazines, as well as enhancing the continuation of Karen traditional culture through music and dance.

At the request of the SVA, the Japanese Government has agreed to fund this latest library project. The grant totals 2,985,800 baht to be allocated to the purchase of books, the costs of traditional/cultural activities and personnel expenses, etc., of the 12 libraries in the three more densely populated camps, namely Mea Lah, Umpiem and Nupho in Tak province.

The SVA is supporting the continuation of traditional culture activities intensively this year as the first of a three-year plan. Through this project it is expected that the educational environment as well as ethnic culture and language will be strengthened.

The Government of Japan is ready to consider providing further support projects which contribute to human security through the Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects.

For more information about GGP, please contact:

Mr. Hitoshi Takezume, First Secretary and Ms. Ashida, Staff
Embassy of Japan,
177 Witthayu Road, Lumphini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330
Telephone: 02-207-8500 / 02-696-3000 ext. 514, 558 Facsimile: 02-207-8517