Fr. John Barth, M.M.
For more than two decades, Wat Prok School, established by Maryknoll two decades ago, has provided education, skill training as well as clothing, food and medical assistance to 34 and 52 Mon Migrant boys, ranging from six to seventeen years old, living at small Mon Buddhist monastery in Bangkok. The number of students varies primarily due to new students.
The boys parents are migrant workers mostly working in the fish process plant outside of Bangkok or on the fishing boats. The Maryknoll Thailand team members work with the Informal Education Department of the Thai Government to provide basic education to the boys, including Mon, Thai and English language training, some basic grammar school classes and sponsors skill training for the older boys.
Initial emphasis is on teaching the boys the Thai language, which makes them eligible for special temporary ID cards until age 17. The younger is then recognized as having a right to be in the country. It also provides protection against the boys being trafficked, given the extent of the problem of trafficking in Southeast Asia.