Estelle: “I will always have a wonderful memory of it and I already miss Minmahaw”
Hello everyone. My name is Estelle, I’m 23 years old, and I went to Mae Sot in Thailand for 3 months as a part of my internship after completing my degree. I was the first AIME volunteer to go on a mission to the Minmahaw School, a school for Burmese refugees and migrants. I taught English, but also other classes such as debate, computer sciences, and many other activities.
Before leaving, I was quite apprehensive because it was my first experience volunteering and also the first time I was going to teach. On the other hand, I knew that I would have a unique and enriching experience. Spending 3 months in Minmahaw turned out to be a lot more than that. Although my mission was short in duration, the integration was quick and I immediately felt at home in this large family the school forms.
Minmahaw is a unique place. I met people of incredible generosity there, always smiling and full of energy. You quickly feel comfortable in Minmahaw because of its small structure, the atmosphere, the friendliness, and the positive energy of the school. A link is very quickly created between the students and the other volunteers. Students are always willing to share and share their cultures and traditions by discussing them or inviting volunteers to their celebrations, which is a great opportunity to spend time with them outside of the classroom and it’s always fun!
Minmahaw’s program is quite unique because although it is intense, the well-being and development of students always comes first. The issue is important and serious, but is always done in good spirits. Students are encouraged to develop a critical and open mind through many activities, each being more interesting than the last.
These 3 months were extremely enriching and emotional. Each day was filled with joy, laughter, and emotions in general, whether it was during activities or even during class.
I think if I had to describe this mission in one sentence, I would say that I probably learned more from the students than they learned from me. I have met people who are deeply kind and so touching. We got attached to everyone very quickly, and while it was difficult in the beginning, it was worth it!
I think the Minmahaw mission is the perfect mission for a 1st experience. It is a small structure and you quickly feel at home there, but also because its exotic and in a city where living conditions are much less difficult than in the countryside, which makes it possible to focus fully on the mission. In addition, there is an important follow up and a lot of communication with other volunteers. Everyone works together as equals. The rest of the staff and the other volunteers were always listening, ready to help me, give me advice, and share their experiences.
I will always have a wonderful memory of it and I already miss Minmahaw.