At BTI, we are passionate about making a positive difference in the world. Our educators, students and graduates live out this commitment in many ways in their individual careers and personal lives - but from time to time, an opportunity comes along for BTI to serve offshore.
In 2012, BTI in partnership with the Australian organisation Effective Aid International (EAI) supported the commencement of a two year programme of preparation for teaching course on the Thai-Burmese border. Initially this programme was located in the Mae La Refugee Camp and then after one year it was re-established in a nearby village called Noh Boh. The student-teachers who have participated in the programme have come from Burma (also known as Myanmar) mainly because of economic hardships and the effects of the ethnic civil war between the Karen people and the Burmese army.
Over the past seven years this teaching programme has been led by Graeme and Kendal Cook (both BTI graduates). Their professional and compassionate commitment to their students has enabled the graduates to develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions to effectively teach in a range of primary schools, mainly across the border in Burma. Everyone has had to work through a range of challenges along the way. For example, engaging in cross cultural conversations with both parties having limited understanding of each other’s language, background and expectations.
In the e-book Graeme says, ‘All these challenges aside, if we allowed ourselves the delusion that we were doing any of this under our own strength or direction then the wheels would well and truly fall off in a short space of time. We are continually amazed how God structures and funds his ideas, and how He only funds His ideas! If you have no understanding of God the Father and what Jesus has done for you then life here looks like a fruitless endeavour. Indeed we are often asked by friends when are we coming ‘home’ or when are we going to be finished with those people over there. It is a life that brings joy but not always happiness, but it’s a life of purpose and adventure, ups and downs and we could not imagine doing anything else despite the hardships’ (p. 7).
This E-book not only provides an illustrated overview of the teacher training programme but also provides an authentic insight into some of the student-teachers’ lives who have graduated from the two-year course. It is hoped their experiences will encourage others who are facing similar challenges in their lives.
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