Everyone has a right to education, medical care and employment. But for asylum seekers escaping religious persecution in Bangkok, those basic freedoms and rights have turned into dreams. They need your support. Can you make some dreams come true?
I met Romail in Bangkok through a friend who works for the UN. Romail, a Christian from Pakistan, has now been granted refugee status in Thailand. He teaches asylum-seeking and refugee children and their parents a few times a week. With some outside support, they now have a building to house them and a room for a school. But they could use a lot more. School supplies. Internet. Food.
Since writing the letter below, Romail has received sponsorship from a church in Toronto, Canada to move there. He plans to resettle in Canada. But many have not had his luck. Their situation is difficult. Please read his story.
I am Romail Yousaf, a Christian asylum seeker in Bangkok, Thailand. I fled from Pakistan because of the religious persecution by Muslim extremists. I am now a recognized refugee by the UNHCR Bangkok, Thailand. I am now waiting for my resettlement, but the UNHCR has told me that the resettlement is not my right. It will take a long time to resettle in another country, that is if another country selects me. I am on the waiting list, and my family and I don't know how many years it will take more years to resettle in a third country. We came to Bangkok, Thailand in 2013. Now it is 2018.
Unfortunately, Thailand is not signatory with the UN Charter 1951, so they do not accept refugees. For that reason, they call us illegal immigrants. The Thai Police can arrest us and send us to the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) in Bangkok. A lot of Christian refugees who are seeking asylum are detained there already. Please watch this video to better understand our situation in Thailand.
Thai law prohibits us from employment. My family of six lives in a small single room. We are all refugees and asylum seekers. We depend on others to feed us, and we see their hands. Our children cannot study at school, and that is disturbing to us as parents. We believe their main right is to get an education. We fear of Thai police, so we rarely leave our rooms. Those rooms can feel like prison, but they are a sweeter prison than the IDC.
The fear of arrest affects the emotional and mental growth of our children.. Some are getting sick. They lack food, education, and freedom, which is their right.
We may live in darkness day by day, and there may be no hope for us, but we are thankful to God. Amid the difficulties, we have survived. We are waiting for Good Samaritans who can take care of us. We are searching for freedom. We want our children to live in a place where they can breathe freely. As parents, we want to work and feed our children. None of us want to live in fear.
We do not understand Thai language. We do not understand the difference between Thai Police, the immigration police and the security guards. Whenever our children see any person in the uniform they become frightened. When our children get sick, we do not take them to the doctors because of the fear of the Thai police. Children sometimes do not leave their rooms for two or three days. Sometimes, the Christian Thais give us medicine and other things.
We have started a school for our children and their parents who are asylum seekers, so we can at least give them an education.
We have now received donations for a single room. Children of different ages study there. We are teaching them English, math, science, music, DIY, art and drawing, ethics and social studies and Bible studies.
When the children come to school, they let go of their fears. They laugh with other children.
We have 12 children right now in our tiny school. After teaching the children, we teach their parents. We want them to at least learn how to speak English, so they can communicate when they go out. Since some of the parents are uneducated, they want to learn English.
We need your support. We need donations for the rent for the school and the stipend for two teachers. We need stationery, laptops, a projector, a photocopier, a printer, and food for the children. Below are our estimated monthly and one-time operational costs.
Estimated Monthly Costs (in Canadian Dollars)
Rent for School Room $105 Stipend for Two Community Teachers $250 Food for 15 people $475 Stationary $85 DIY Material $63 Internet Charges $35
Printer $295 Laptop Computer $745.00 Projector $660 Two Guitars $600 Picnic/Outing Every Three Months $620
Watch the brief video below. Download it and share on your social media. Donate.