“The Best Friend Library Free Education Center”
A great blog to check out is that of Ashin Kovida, a Burmese monk living in Mae Sot. Now in Northern Thailand, he oversees a four story building on Bua Khun Road called “The Best Friend Library Free Education Center”. Founded in 2007, this library has become a safe haven for migrants and refugees from Burma and a meeting place for interested people from all over the world.
As explained on an interview on his blog, "In Mae Sot the Library door is always wide open. When you enter you will be greeted by young, friendly people, some of who arrived in the library a few years ago and never left."
The Best Friend Library Mae Sot holds 3000 books, literature, research reports, news magazines, films and other materials about Burma for English speakers as well as books in Burmese and Burmese-minority languages. All classes and Internet access are free of charge. The Thai, Burmese, English and computer courses are running for three months, four times a year. Each trimester approximately 120 students of all ages attend. The classes are taught by migrants or foreign volunteer teachers. Apart from that, The Best Friend Library is also running a “mobile library” with changing assortment of books each month in a local clothes factory with more than 1000 workers from Burma, and is exchanging books with the Best Friend Library in Nupo refugee camp. Ashin Issariya also supports three migrant schools in the area. The Best Friend Library Mae Sot is completely run by donations. With rent, electricity, water and food it has running costs of around 500 € a month. Although it is supported with donations from friends, Ashin Issariya says it is not easy sometimes. Every donation for The Best Friend Library by means of money or manpower is very welcome.