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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 19:39 GMT
School Day 24: About Burmese abroad link-up
Composite image of Burmese school in Thailand and in India

Two schools for Burmese refugees - one in Thailand and one in India - linked up to discuss how they cope with life as refugees and struggle to gain access to proper education in foreign lands.

Click on the links below to read more about the schools and pupils who took part.

Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand

Thai India Burma map

The Hsa Thoo Lei school in Thailand is close to the Burmese border.

It is funded by non-governmental organisations and, like about 40 other similar schools in the area, supplies free education to about 100 children aged between five and 16.

Most children are from the Karen ethnic group and their relatives have been fighting against successive Burmese governments since independence, nearly 60 years ago.

At the moment the Karen are one of the most powerful of the armed groups.

During the early days of Burma's independence in the late 1940s, the Karen forces almost captured the capital Rangoon but the Burmese military pushed them back to the hills of Karen state.

Now the rebels use guerrilla warfare as the Burmese military might has strengthened since the military coup in 1988.

Hundreds of thousands of Karen live in refugee camps along the Thai side of the border with Burma border.

Meet the pupils:

Pyi, 16
I am in ninth grade and computers fascinate me. I am very honoured to take part in the BBC's Generation Next programme in which I can ask questions and share my experience with students from India.

Linn, 16
I am a sixth grade student. I would like to be a doctor.

Phaw, 14
I am attending sixth grade. I want to be a teacher.

Saw, 12
I am attending sixth grade. My interest is in painting. I would like to know how the great painters paint Gods and scenery.

ELT School, Delhi, India

The ELT School is an English language school for Burmese refugees in India.

Students at ELT, India
Thousands of Chin fled Burma and now live in India

The students are mainly ethnic Chin people who fled Burma. The Chin who come from north-west Burma, about 960km (600 miles) from Karen state.

There are many similarities between the Karen and the Chin: they both live in mountainous regions, they both have their own native language but are unable to teach them inside Burma, and they are both fighting the Burmese regime.

The main issues for both ethnic groups are language, education and re-settlement in third countries.

Chin separatist movements have been mounting guerrilla attacks for the past 20 years, mainly operating along the India-Burmese border.

But these areas have become less secure for the Chin as India and Burma have co-ordinated military campaigns against separatist groups.

Thousands of Chin fled to India and are now living in refugee camps there.

While they have some things in common, the Chin have little contact with the Karen inside Burma.

Neither has any reason to visit each other's homeland and the only meetings that would take place would be in the cities.

It is therefore unclear as to whether they would agree on the governance of any future democratic constitution or governance in Burma.


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