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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 March 2022
This article studies the social and technological barriers that prevent documented and undocumented female migrants in Thailand's Chiang Mai Province from improving their literacy skills and using social media such as Facebook. In July 2019, our team conducted nine focus-group discussions (FGD) with 38 participants using a picture sorting activity. Using graphics in the FGDs helped us to better engage with migrant populations with low literacy skills. Demographic information of each FGD participant was also collected. Findings show that Thailand's current laws for migrant workers are the barrier that have negative impacts on literacy improvement and social media usage among both documented and undocumented ethnic Shan female migrants from Myanmar. As Thailand's law only permits migrants to work in labor-intensive jobs with minimum wage and no benefits, they do not have time and energy to spend on learning the Thai language and other skills. This reduces the migrants’ abilities to interact with Facebook. Additionally, undocumented migrants could not buy a SIM card with the cellular data plan to use their Facebook account directly from their cellphones because Thailand's laws require all network providers to officially register all SIM card purchases and only sell to documented persons.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the organizations and funders with which the authors are affiliated.
© Channarong Intahchomphoo 2021. (Corresponding author, email@example.com) Dr. Intahchomphoo is a Research Fellow at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Ottawa, Canada and an Affiliated Researcher at the University of Ottawa's Canadian Robotics and AI Ethical Design Lab (CRAiEDL). He is currently employed as a Data Research Librarian at the University of Ottawa Library.
© Naomi Tschirhart 2021. (firstname.lastname@example.org) Dr. Tschirhart is an Adjunct Professor at the Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Canada and the Department of Family Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Thailand. She is also an Affiliated Researcher at the Centre for Global Health, University of Oslo, Norway.
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32 The use of an interpreter was not necessary because one of the authors is a native of Chiang Mai who also speaks Southwestern Tai.
34 Co-author Channarong Intahchomphoo created the codebook for the themes and was the principal coder for all the FGD data. Co-authors André Vellino and Odd Erik Gundersen guided the overall analysis and discussion. Co-author Naomi Tschirhart provided guidance on the research methodology and assisted with data interpretation.
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