Sasanupatham School, a 38-year-old private Islamic school in Prawet district of Bangkok, is committing to provide scholarships to orphaned and underprivileged Muslim youths from Thailand's restive southernmost provinces for a third consecutive year.
The scholarships will be handed out under the "Building Peace in Southern Provinces' Border Districts" fund, which was initiated by the school -- in conjunction with the National Steering Committee on Solving Problems in Southern Border districts -- about two years ago.
The fund covers underprivileged Muslim students in Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, Satun and some districts of Songkhla which have lost the family's breadwinner as a result of violence or come from an impoverished household.
"The fund has provided [Muslim] students in the country's southernmost provinces the opportunity to advance their education and experience Bangkok's multicultural environment," Fairuz Yupensuk, the school's manager, told the Bangkok Post in an interview.
The scholarship covers all costs associated with studying at the school -- which includes tuition, textbooks, meals, transport and on-campus accommodation -- as well as 15 baht a day as pocket money.
Since its inception two years ago, 51 students have received scholarships through the fund -- 10 in the first, and 41 in the second.
"So far, 50% of them have managed to maintain a GPA of at least 3.00. Most of them are now able to converse in Thai fluently. These achievements encourage us to continue the programme," Mr Fairoz said.
Mr Fairoz said the school hopes to increase the number of scholarships offered in the next academic year to 50, but the plan has yet to be finalised due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Our school is under the supervision of the Opec [Office of Private Education Commission] and we receive subsidies from the agency, but it isn't enough to cover the programme," he said.
In addition to its fund for poor and orphaned students in the South, Satsanu Patham School also has the "Better Future for Poor Orphans" fund, a more general programme which provides scholarships to underprivileged Muslim students from all across the country.
At present, 135 out of the 300 students at Satsanu Patham School are scholarship recipients.
Individuals who wish to inquire further may contact the school at 02-748-1328 or 091-871-8752.
Donations can be made through bank transfer to "Wan Mai Phuea Dek Kampra Yak Chone Satsanu Patham School" at 032-1-14395-7 (Islamic Bank of Thailand).