Arielle worked at Population and Community Development Association (PDA) in Bangkok, Thailand where she designed a Community Development Program to target the specific needs of migrants in Thailand. This entailed creating assessment guidelines, conducting numerous interviews and researching the social, political, and economic factors at play in these communities in order to improve Thai-migrant relations.
Stephanie spent nearly three months interning at the Population and Community Development Association (PDA), a Thai NGO founded by Mechai Viravaidya in 1974. Having worked in international development before attending The Fletcher School, she was particularly eager to learn about PDA’s innovative approach to development. The organization is renowned for its out-of-the-box thinking, which has led it to partner with diverse entities (including corporations) and to engage in successful revenue-generating “social business” activities. After only ten days in Bangkok, I had the privilege of traveling to PDA’s rural office near the capital city and then to a sister project in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Being able to juxtapose PDA’s operations in Thailand and Cambodia, as well as its rural and urban offices, was an invaluable opportunity. With this experiential knowledge of PDA, Stephanie designed a community development project for Burmese migrants in Thailand, leveraging the NGO’s core competencies and comprehensively addressing the crucial needs of this marginalized, often exploited population. Inspired by what she learned with PDA, she is taking a course on Forced Migration and Human Rights this semester and will be writing a term paper on refugees’ right to work, using Burmese in Thailand as a case study.