Meet Our Students (15): Nyein Thi Thi Htoo’s Story

My parents got divorced when I was about 8 or 9-year-old. My father had a problem with alcohol and there was domestic violence issue. My siblings and I lived with my grandmother but her youngest son has some issues with substance abuse so she decided to send us to the boarding house for our future. I love a quote by Abraham Lincoln, “I am a slow walker, but I never walk back”. It motivates me to do my best and keep pursuing my future goal. Although I’m overwhelmed by experiences I have gone through sometimes, I’m trying hard to overcome these hardships by perusing my future dream.

 

During Nyein Thi Thi Htoo’s internship at Child Protection team, Mae Tao Clinic. She’s re-arranging birth registration documents.

My name is Nyein Thi Thi Htoo. I was born in April 1999. I am originally from Hpa An,[1] Karen state.[2] I and my younger sister live in Children’s Development Centre (CDC) boarding house and study at the CDC school.[3] I will be in grade 12 and my younger sister will be in grade 7 this year.

I have 3 siblings (1 older brother and 1 younger sister). My older brother quit school after grade 8 because he wanted to work to make money.

My parents got divorced when I was about 8 or 9-year-old. My father has a problem with alcohol and there was domestic violence issue. My mother couldn’t take it and eventually left the house. After she left, my father could not take responsibility for us so he sent us to my paternal grandmother. We, siblings, stayed at my grandmother’s place in Thailand for several years. My grandmother is a kind person and I liked living with her. Her youngest son, however, has some issues with substance abuse and he sometimes became aggressive. That worried my grandmother that it would negatively affect our future, so she decided to send us to the boarding house.

My mother is currently in Bangkok, having a new family with one child. My father is still in Hpa An, working at a lumber mill. My mother and I talk on the phone when we miss each other.

Boarding house

I have been living in the CDC boarding house since when I was 16-year-old. It will be the last year for me to stay here and study at the CDC school.

I feel very protected here and I have learned many things: I’ve gained more self-confidence and a social skill. Although sometimes I’m overwhelmed by experiences I have gone through, I’m trying hard to overcome these hardships by perusing my future dream. I love a quote by Abraham Lincoln “I am a slow walker, but I never walk back”. It motivates me to do my best and keep pursuing my future goal. While I’m doing that I’ve learned to become more independent. On the bright side, I think I am lucky that I have a chance to go to school.

During Nyein Thi Thi Htoo’s internship at Child Protection team, Mae Tao Clinic. She’s re-arranging birth registration documents.

I like all foods provided in the boarding house. Interestingly, although it’s the same menu, everyone cooks differently and the taste becomes different, of which I like and I never get tired.

When I have some free time, I read books. The most important thing for me is the family because I think if I had a family who looks after me, I would not have needed to stay in the boarding house.

Education

I like my school because I have a number of opportunities to study further. I can join non-formal education (NFE) programme,[4] General Education Development (GED)[5] higher education which provides accreditation to join universities worldwide, and another option to study at universities in Burma if I pass s matriculation exam.

What motivates me to study is I want to continue my education at the university in Thailand after finishing my study at the CDC. I would like to major in business studies as I want to be a businesswoman in the future. I admire Dr. Cynthia Maung. She is not only providing essential health care service for migrant people but also is providing protection to venerable children in the area. Thanks to her many children have access to education, safety, and food. If I make money, I’d love to support those who have no access to education due to finance issues, like I have been provided. To achieve my goal, I’ve been focusing on English and Thai language studies.

CDC boarding house is one of the boarding houses directly supervised and managed by Mae Tao Clinic through dry food programme. There are 167 students living in the CDC boarding house and attending the CDC school.

(We conduct interviews with our students in accordance with the MTC Child Protection Policy. Interviews are conducted by our responsible Child Protection staff who are trained.)

Meet Our Other Students here


The Children’s Development Centre (CDC) has continued to provide education to displaced children from Burma. In the academic year 2017-2018, 880 students are enrolled. CDC works on accredited education for its students through the Thai Non-Formal Education (NFE) programme, currently followed by 114 students. The NFE programme enables CDC students with interest in Thai language to access accredited education. A second pathway to accredited education is the Pre-General Education Development (Pre-GED) programme, in cooperation with BEAM Education Foundation and Thabyay Education Foundation.

 

 

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[1] Hpa-An is the capital of Karen State, Burma/Myanmar. The population of Hpa-An as of the 2014 census is 421,575. Most of the people in Hpa-An are of the Karen ethnic group [Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hpa-An]

[2] Karen State is a state of Myanmar. It is bordered by Thailand to the east. Majority of refugees and migrants along the Thai-Burma border are from Karen State.

[3] CDC school: While Mae Tao Clinic (MTC) began as a humble health service delivery organisation, it has evolved into an umbrella social services network for refugees, migrant workers and other displaced Burmese. As a focal point of these activities, we find that child protection is a rapidly growing area of need. The Children’s Development Centre (CDC) has continued to provide education to displaced children from Burma. In the academic year 2017-2018, 880 students are enrolled.

[4] Non-Formal Education: Out-of-school and vulnerable youth are given an alternative pathway to education and accreditation through non-formal education (NFE). There are two paths for the NFE: 1) displaced students in Thailand can earn Thai accreditation by completing a NFE curriculum modified specifically for their situation or 2) migrant youth returning to school in Myanmar (Burma) can earn certification through Myanmar’s non-formal primary education (NFPE) curriculum. [World Education website: https://thailand.worlded.org/our-work/non-formal-education/]

[5] The GED test is the high school equivalency credential recognized in all 50 states of the U.S.A. Graduates prove their academic skills and knowledge in the basic subject areas of reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Between 2010 to 2016, 52 students from CDC, schools in the refugee camps and other migrant learning centres were sponsored to participate in the GED programme. This allows them grade 12 equivalency which in turn allows the students to access universities. Twenty-three of these students are currently enrolled at university and one has already graduated with a Bachelor of Education. [GED test service website: https://www.gedtestingservice.com/testers/about-ged-test, MTC 2016 annual report]

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