Women survey report-may2009

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In May 2009, Foundation for Education and Development, also known as Grassroots HRE (GHRE) conducted a needs assessment with 74 Burmese migrant women living in the Phang-Nga province of southern Thailand.

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Women survey report-may2009

  1. 1. มูลนิธิการศึกษาเพื่อการพัฒนา  F oundat ion fo r E ducat ion and Development (F E D) N E EDS ASSESM EN T : M I G R A N T W O M EN IN PH A N G-N G A PR O V IN C E, T H A I L A N D C O N D U C T ED B Y F O UN D A TI O N F O R ED U C A TI O N A N D D E V E L O PM EN T Also known as Grassroots Human Rights and Education (GHRE) May 2009 For more information contact: Ms. Po Po Foundation for Education and Development (GHRE) P.O. box 13 Takuapa Post Office Phang-Nga 82110 Thailand Email: popo@ghre.org Phone: 0844477061
  2. 2. A BSTR A C T : In May 2009, Foundation for Education and Development, also known as Grassroots HRE (GHRE) conducted a needs assessment with 74 Burmese migrant women living in the Phang-Nga province of southern Thailand. The mission of the project was four fold: 1. To gather information that would help us to assist vulnerable women in Phang Nga province. 2. To find out the needs of the women in the local area and determine if they would use a community based education centre. 3. To improve opportunities and access to education for women living in rural areas. 4. To aid integration into Thai society. Key findings included:  Most women are economic migrants  45% have work permits, 55% don’t  Most women are in part time work, only 6 out of 74 are in full time employment  Most women work in plantations (rubber, coconut, palm oil, seasonal fruits and vegetables)  Most earn less than 3000 ฿/month the average wage for those asked is 3-4000 ฿/month  Most women have very young children  Most women have no Thai friends  Almost all women asked, said that they would like to return to Burma one day  The support that these women want the most is money and the means to acquire it (work permits)  Only 24% of these women finished secondary school  In a camp there can be as few as 2 people and as many as 90 people  70% of these women would like to take part in a handicraft project  Most women would like to learn Thai  Most women would like to work with Thai women  Most of these women do not have the skills required to start producing handicrafts yet
  3. 3. B A C K G R O UN D : Foundation for Education and Development, also known as Grassroots HRE (GHRE) works to promote the rights of individuals – human rights, women’s rights, reproductive rights, children’s rights  – as well as to provide education at various levels for Burmese people in Thailand. The primary strategy to achieve these goals is the involvement of community and its development; therefore, GHRE works directly with Burmese communities at a grassroots level. Since its inception, GHRE has always focused on equality, especially gender equality. GHRE not only runs work shops and training sessions on women’s rights and gender issues but also practices what it preaches within the structure and operation of the organization: 50% of the staff are women and the deputy director is also a woman. This survey will help GHRE to learn more about the Burmese communities, but also specifically about women’s roles within their communities in Thailand. Burmese people face great obstacles both in their own country and here in Thailand. In Burma they face constant oppression from the military dictatorship which governs the country and here in Thailand they are subject to frequent, and often aggressive, prejudices. The people of Burma are experiencing human rights violations in all forms on both sides of the border. Burmese people have been migrating to Thailand for the last 20 years, bringing their whole families, from the very young to the very old. They leave situations of extreme poverty, ethnic violence, poor education (or lack of) and unemployment, but when they reach Thailand their situation is not that different. Employment for Burmese migrants usually involves an insecure and hazardous job in rubber plantations, fisheries, construction sites and some women even work in the sex industry. There are few laws regarding migrant workers, and those that there are, are often not enforced, leaving migrant workers vulnerable. There are also very few opportunities of education for Burmese migrants. Thai schools are required by law to accept Burmese students, but rarely do. As  for adult education,  if  it  weren’t  for  GHRE  in this  area, Burmese people would have no access to education past the age of 16. This lack of education here and in Burma leaves migrants unaware of their basic human rights; GHRE works towards rectifying this. G O A LS This project will help to ascertain the needs of women in the area. It will also help GHRE to learn more about the camps and living situations of Burmese migrant people in these Phang Nga villages, as we have not carried out a comprehensive survey for a long time. This survey will enable GHRE to find out from women from different communities what kinds of projects that would like to be involved in. GHRE  has a plan to start two new  women’s projects,  this survey  will be  vital when building a  useful  and relevant programme for this group. The mission of the project is four fold: 5. To gather information that will help us to assist vulnerable women in Phang Nga province. 6. To find out the needs of the women in the local area and determine if they would use a community based education centre. 7. To improve opportunities and access to education for women living in rural areas. 8. To aid integration into Thai society. PR O C ESS
  4. 4. Ms. Po Po, Deputy Director of GHRE, was the project coordinator for this task; she was responsible for the survey and for recruiting appropriate staff to aid her. Once the survey was put together Ms. Po Po set about setting up systems to carry out the task at hand. She had a meeting with everyone who was to conduct the questionnaire and informed them of the aims and objectives of this project. It took just under one week to complete the surveys; the staff were taken from camp to camp where they spoke to Burmese migrant women and conducted interviews according to the questionnaires provided. After the surveys were complete, we took the information gathered and collated it to compare the findings and see if there are any common threads. Annex O ne I. Profile The 74 women interviewed for this questionnaire live in camps in Khuk Khak, Pakarang, Bang Niang, Dawday, Toong Kamin and Ban San. Their ages range from fourteen to fifty- five and the large majority of them are married. Two of the women are refugees and all the other women are either economic migrants with or without documents, in equal numbers. Photo1: Inte rvie w in the rubbe r pla nta tion II. L iving Conditions Most of these women do not have work permits, however, nearly as many do possess them. A great number of women have part time work, a large percentage have no work at all and only 6 women out of the 74 who answered these questionnaires are in fulltime employment (See chart below ). Employment data Full time Part time Part time, but irregular No Most of the women work in plantations (rubber, coconut, palm oil, seasonal fruits and vegetables) a few work in construction and only 1 or 2 work in the tourist industry, fisheries and other sectors such as nursery school teachers. The largest percentage of women earn less than 3000 ฿/month, one stated
  5. 5. that they earn more than 10,000 ฿, but I think it is clear to see that an average monthly income for these women is between 3-4000฿ /month ( see chart below ). Individual Income Less than 2000฿ Less than 3000฿ 3000-5000฿ 5000-10000฿ 10000฿ plus The questionnaire shows that an average household income is between 3-5000฿ /month and 5-10,000 ฿/month. The results for these categories were equal. Only 3 households had less than 3000 ฿/ a month and 13 households had more than 10,000 ฿/month. The majority of women who completed this questionnaire live in a shelter with between 1 and 5 people, a comparatively small percentage live with 6 – 10 people, and no one lives with more than that. Most of the women have up to 3 children, only a few have between 3 and 6; only one women interviewed was pregnant at the time. Just over half the children are aged less than 5 years old. The living shelters are generally thought to provide sufficient space and quality for the people living there, about a third of the women think there is not enough room and they are of a poor standard. Most shelters are made of wood, with the other less frequently used building material being iron. Two thirds of these people have access to drinking water. The most sought after non food items that these people note that they need are cooking utensils, medical care and furniture; Soap and hygiene products are also needed, but clothes are not a popular necessity. Most of these women do not have any female Thai friends; less than one third says that they do. The majority of women, however, feel that they have integrated into Thailand very well. Only 2 people think that they have not integrated at all. A large majority believes that relations with Thai people are good, 20 thought that they are difficult and tough and 1 believed that their relations with Thai people to be violent ( see chart below). Photo2: Construc tion Wo rke rs living condition Photo3: R ubbe r pla nta tion living condition
  6. 6. Relations with Thai people Non-existent Rude Violent Tough Correct Friendly Difficult Good Don't know III. B ackground People from Burma are comprised of many different ethnic groups. Most of these women came from Tanintharyi state, about a third are from Mon state, 2 are from Rakhaing state and only one is from Shan state. Two thirds of these women used to work in Burma, again, they mainly worked in plantations. Nearly all of the women surveyed left Burma for economic reasons, a few of them even commented that they left so that they could get rich or own land. Some women left Burma with their parents. A lot of them have been in Thailand for over 5 years, 10 women have been in Thailand for more than 15 years and only 4 for less than 6 months. According to these questionnaires most of the women stay in one place for a few years at least: 16 have been in the same place for less than 6 months, but 23 have been in the same place for 3-5 years and 12 have stayed steady for more than 5 years. Almost all that were asked if they would like to go back to Burma someday said “yes”. The questionnaire asked these women an open ended question, to state which kind of support would be the most efficient for them. The majority wrote that they needed a job for income; others simply stated they needed money and a lot asked for help with attaining a work permit and/or money towards this. A few people asked for healthcare and education, but it was clear that money and the means to acquiring it is the priority (see chart below). Help most wanted Job for Income or money Work permit help Heathcare Education Transportation back to Burma Good transport Good electricity supply Good water supply Don't know Food Accomodation Pots and Plates
  7. 7. I V. E duca tion a nd Skills Almost all of the women surveyed attended school when they were children, only 3 out of the 74 who were asked did not, and 2 of those were because there was no school nearby. Approximately 60% finished primary school, 24% finished secondary school, 9% finished High School and only one person went to University. Most of these people interviewed can read quite well, only 12 people can read very well and 7 people cannot read at all. The majority of women can write a little or fairly well, a few are good at writing and only 7 cannot write at all. Fewer than 50% cannot speak Thai and nearly 40% can speak the basics. Only 5 people questioned are fluent. The large majority of these women cannot speak English; very few have a basic understanding of it. Most of them would be interested to learn a new language. V. He alth Almost all women stated that they do have a place to go if they have any health problems. Roughly 2 thirds have not been sick in the last 3 months, and of those who have been, the majority have been cured or have an ongoing disease. Annex 2 Most camps have between 2 and 10 people living there; the survey found that camps had as few as 2 people and as many as 90 people. The average number of people in a camp, as calculated from these figures, is 16 people. Most camps have 1 or 2 families living there, but numbers vary with up to 14 families in one camp. The largest camp, with 90 people, has 35 families. Some camps have up to 14 people under 18 years old living there, most have none, 1, or 2. Throughout all 26 camps there are only 2 people over the age of 65 accounted for in this survey. There are only 20 people under 18 years old accounted for in the entire survey. There are approximately the same numbers of women as there are men in each camp. There are 6 women listed as living alone without a husband, they are noted as being the guardians for between 1 and 3 children each. The camps have between one and 14 different shelters, with tents, temporary shelters and housing all being noted as the type of accommodation. Most shelters were created in 2005 with only one created in 2006; since then a couple have been established each year. The earliest shelter was created 20 years ago in Ton Kamin, an area that has a couple of shelters created 15 years ago. Bang Nieng also has an old camp which was created 16 years ago.
  8. 8. Annex 3 V I. Ha ndic raft Pro ject Approximately 70% of the women who were given this questionnaire said that they would like to take part in the handicraft project (see chart below). 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Yes No Don't know Women Interested in Handicraft Project The most suitable time for the work shops is generally thought to be in the afternoon, between 4 and 6pm being the most popular. Thai language is the most popular training wanted, with sewing and then English next (see cha rt below). 25 20 15 10 5 0 Thai Language English Financial and Handicraft Sewing Other Language Accounting Skills Management skills Training's most wanted Most women who answered these questions have not been trained yet; only 15% said that they had been. Nine women stated that they had been involved in these types of income generating projects before, elsewhere. The large majority have not. 39 out of 52 women would like to work with Thai women, and most women do not have any handicraft skills. Sixty percent of those asked, would like to produce Burmese traditional crafts, the other forty percent answered that they wouldn’t like to produce traditional crafts.   As seen in the survey most women are not ready to produce handicrafts now, i.e. they don’t posses the required skills yet; just under half the women who answered the questionnaire do posses the skills needed and are ready to start production. Most women can spend 3 days a week training, but almost as many can spend 2 or 4; 7 people said 1 day a week and 9 people said anytime. After receiving training in the new skill, the majority of women said that they would be able to spend 2 hours a day producing products, some said they could do 3 hours a day and very few said 4 or 5 hours daily. Most women noted that they would be able to commit up to 6 months for production of handicrafts after the training as part of the project, some said they could commit to up to a year, but only 2 people said that they would be able to commit longer than a year. When asked what might be difficulties that would stop these women from attending the trainings, the women said that lack of time due to household responsibilities or looking after their children would be
  9. 9. the biggest problems, but bad health also featured as something that might stop them attending frequently (see chart below ). 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Look after Lack of time Other Husband Bad Health Short term commitments Children future Job Difficulties that would stop women attending trainings This survey shows that 80 % of these women would prefer the training to take place in either GHRE facilities or outside their camp somewhere (results split equally). Not many at all wanted the training to take place at their shelter or inside their camps. Fifty-seven percent of the women asked, said that they would walk to the trainings, twenty-nine percent said they would go by car, and only 5 women said that they would take the bus. Significa nt F indings This survey has been useful in allowing GHRE to see the possibilities, obstacles and practicalities of starting various educational classes and particularly a handicraft project. It will also be useful for the future to get an idea of living situations, aspirations and problems of Burmese migrants in Phang Nga province. Significant findings include:  Most women are economic migrants  45% have work permits, 55% don’t  Most women are in part time work, only 6 out of 74 are in full time employment  Most women work in plantations (rubber, coconut, palm oil, seasonal fruits and vegetables)  Most earn less than 3000 ฿/month the average wage for those asked is 3-4000 ฿/month  Most women have very young children  Most women have no Thai friends  Almost all women asked, said that they would like to return to Burma one day  The support that these women want the most is money and the means to acquire it (work permits)  Only 24% of these women finished secondary school  In a camp there can be as few as 2 people and as many as 90 people  70% of these women would like to take part in a handicraft project  Most women would like to learn Thai  Most women would like to work with Thai women  Most of these women do not have the skills required to start producing handicrafts yet
  10. 10. Conclusion Now that the project is complete we have a useful bank of information collected directly from the Burmese migrant women, which will help us to ascertain their needs in the near future. We can now use this information to build projects which will help them to grow and give them a chance to repair their needs. GHRE will also be able to use data gathered from this research in other reports and literature which can be passed to both Thai and International NGO’s to highlight the situation for Burmese migrants in  Thailand.   Photo4: At Construc tion M ate ria l Fa cto ry Photo5: Collecting data at rubbe r wo rke r house

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