A SCOT who helped build a school in a remote, poverty-stricken village on the Thai- Burmese border has made a documentary highlighting the plight of the children there.
Narrated by Hollywood star Sigourney Weaver, All You Need is Love focuses on the lives of the children of Good Morning School in the district of Mae Sot, Thailand.
Mae Sot is one of the many towns along the border where hundreds of thousands of Burmese nationals fled to escape the repressive military junta.
However, the vast majority of these people have been left without nationality, rights or a country and find themselves facing a bleak future.
Originally from Stonehaven and now based in Dubai, director Stuart Cameron had set out to help build a new school for the children in the town.
However, the 52-year-old decided that recording the project and the community was important, both to show the world what was happening on the Thai-Burma border, and to help raise much-needed funds for the project.
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“I went out to have look at the place, and have a wee investigation to make sure that any money I put in was going to be spent wisely,” he said.
“So, I went up, saw the school, saw the kids, took some toys up for the kids, and almost immediately I found something happening to me as a human being.
“The kids were almost insanely positive and friendly and happy in very difficult circumstances. That was inspiring to me as a human being and humbling in its own way.”
He added: “The aim of the documentary was to capture this insane positivity and happiness with the hope that I could inspire an audience, not to say ‘Aw, look at these poor kids,’ but to say, ‘My goodness, these kids are doing this, and this, and this’, and, without stating it [to feel], ‘I wish my kids were that cheery’.”
Mr Cameron came to the project through his involvement with Suzy Amis Cameron, the wife of film director James Cameron, whose films include Avatar and Aliens, who had co-founded the Muse School in California and who wanted to set up a similar establishment in Burma.
Mr Cameron said that in order to make sure the school was sustainable, the team had to address the infrastructure that would support it. “We surrounded the school with a farm,” he said.
“We also looked at the water supply and dug the well deeper, so that clean water would be delivered 12 months a year.
“For the dirty water, which couldn’t be drunk without boiling, we put a couple of pumps in and started irrigating the farm so the farm could produce three harvests a year.
“Next thing we knew, we had pigs, a fully functioning farm, ducks that laid eggs, hens that were good for eating, goats that gave us milk, and we were actually breeding fish.
“In essence, 50 per cent of the kids’ nutritional needs were being supplied by the school.”
The school has already won the top honour in Thailand for migrant schools, and Good Morning School is the highest-ranking Burmese migrant school in Tak Province.
With its curriculum now recognised by the regime, the school is looking to get pupils into vocational training and universities in Burma and Thailand, as well as creating scholarships in the US.
The documentary was shown in Los Angeles at the end of last year, and Mr Cameron now hopes it will have a UK screening in Edinburgh before touring universities and colleges across the country.
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