11 July 2024

The Government of Japan pledges US$2.1m to help migrant children with digital education and food security, to assist their recovery and further safeguard them against sexual abuse, trafficking in persons and exploitation of child labour, said UNESCO on Thursday.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Government of Japan have announced a new education and food security project, aimed at aiding migrant children along the Thailand-Myanmar border in their education.

The new initiative, which will be implemented from January to December 2023, will support digital learning for learning recovery in the post-pandemic era, provide emergency food aid and equip migrant learning centres (MLCs) with ICT infrastructure and sanitation facilities.

Oba Yuichi, Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister of the Embassy of Japan, in Bangkok, representing Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Shigeru Aoyagi, the Director of UNESCO Bangkok, representing the UN’s specialised agency for education, signed an arrangement letter for the project at the Japanese Embassy in Bangkok on Thursday (December 22nd).

Aoyagi said that the project will provide at least 3,000 Myanmar migrant children with food, education and digital learning. “This project will ensure that these 3,000 children will have a better life in the future, with learning that got interrupted for the time being because of the crisis in the country,” he said.

Oba, also Japan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), said that this project aligns with the Government of Japan’s policy that supports the promotion of safety and human security.

As the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar intensifies, there is increasing cross-border movement of refugees and migrants.

UNESCO reported that the number of migrant children enrolled in 65 MLCs in five border districts in Thailand’s Tak province went up from 10,808 in June 2022 to 11,584 in September 2022.