Written by Dan:
Greetings! This is the first post of several to come in the following days chronicling our trip through Thailand: from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Mae Sot on the Thai/Burma border. We have a great group of Aussies and Americans who you will hear from over the next 9 days trying to give you all a taste of what we are hearing and seeing hear on the ground. Each day, our group is meeting with different organizations that are active working on issues in Burma and over the border in Thailand. We hope that in relaying our experiences here in Thailand to you all at home that this information and insight can be empowering to you all to become more informed about Burma and additional avenues to get involved.
Day 1 took us to Chiang Mai, Thailand where we were fortunate to meet with the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB). HREIB is an NGO that facilitates human rights training and education programs for grassroots organizations and community leaders involved in Burma. The Deputy Director at HREIB, gave our group a presentation introducing the terrific work that HREIB conducts.
The programmatic work at HREIB consists of “Training of Trainers” or ‘TOTs’ where HREIB trains and educates community and organization leaders human rights in several categories including: women, children, and LGBT rights. The objective of these TOTs is to educate and empower community leaders and to equip them with the knowledge and tools to go back to their respective communities in Burma to educate their peers and communities.
One of HREIB newest programs is their LGBT rights program. HREIB is the only organization offering a focused program that addresses LGBT rights in Burma. HREIB holds focused courses on LGBT rights, dignity, coming out as well as issuing a publication, Rainbow. In addition to their courses and publication, HREIB has also held awareness events on anti-homophobia day and produced songs and educational video and animation clips which are aired on the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB).
Through HREIB’s monthly reporting, they found that their programs have had success in equipping their trainees with the knowledge and tools necessary to be capable agents of change in their communities in Burma.
After such a thoughtful presentation, we are very excited and eager to meet with several other incredible organizations over the rest of the trip.
Please continue to follow the rest of our trip!