Working together to provide educational opportunities for very poor children in Myanmar (Burma)

S4SK is a UK-registered charity, No: 1131559

 “Our target group is children from scavenging families who have to work instead of going to school.  They come to our class, and get a small family support payment in return.  We hope to give them a basic education that will let them join vocational training courses later on.

Scavengers pick through the garbage looking for glass, plastic, batteries etc, which they then sell.  They spend long hours and make very little money.

Local people believe that the children from scavenging families are thieves, and they train their guard dogs to bark at them.  So these children have dogs barking at them every day.

Because scavengers are so despised, they do not like to admit that they do this job.  That made it difficult for me to properly identify which child is a scavenger, and which is not.  So, first, I always ask local people to help me identify the children who scavenge.  They may identify a particular family.  I confirm this by asking other people.   Then I have to find out which children are in school, and which are out of school.  Many of the children who go to school do not go regularly, so they are behind for their age.  However, there are others who are out of school altogether.  They cannot read or write properly.  These are the ones I invite to my class.

Phyu Phyu describes how she started an NFE class in 2011

Many of my pupils have been scavenging as long as they can remember and are already street-wise.  They have to be tough in order to survive.  In my class, as well as teaching them to read and write, I teach them to distinguish between good and bad.  They can discuss anything openly with me, and they know I will not gossip about them.  I encourage them to think about what they do, and to respect each other.

I try to make my classes fun for the students.  In between lessons, they can play games, sing, colour and draw.  I’m always trying to make my class funny so that the students feel happy and want to study for a long time.  

Some of my students come from very difficult backgrounds, and this sometimes shows in their behaviour.  For me, all young people are the same.  They are innocent and lovely.  They are our future.  I will feel satisfied if they get a better life.”                                                                                                     Phyu Phyu Mar (Administrative Officer S4SK-M)

Please help us to bring hope to more very poor children.