Mae Sot project facing new challenges in volunteering

By Gordon Lambie

The team behind the Mae Sot Education Project (MSEP) is beginning 2020 with a period of reflection on their work in light of a smaller than usual number of applicants for its volunteer-driven program. Characterised in the project’s most recent newsletter as “the most serious stumbling block” the group has encountered in its 16 years of operation, the low application rate means that the project is moving into its training season with only one volunteer for the coming year. “Maybe this is just a tough year,” said Project Coordinator Mary Purkey, noting that it is hard to say what exactly led to the smaller number of applications. She explained that the MSEP has always been intentionally small, preferring to work with a group of around four to, at most, six volunteers who travel to teach in the Mae Sot district on the Thai-Burmese border for six months. While some might see the selection of only one team member for the year as bad news, Purkey told The Record that she and the rest of the project committee members are looking at the challenge as an opportunity to reflect on how things have changed since the project first got started and determine how best to move forward. Purkey also put her full faith in this year’s volunteer, Claire Keddy, and said that part of the ongoing reflection is about how she can best spend her time and resources this year in light of the lack of teammates. See full story in the Thursday, Jan. 16 edition of The Record.

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