Meet Our Students (20): Tun Tun Lin’s Story

I am 14 years old, living in Hway Ka Loke boarding house. I had to go through bitter experiences that I lost my parents, lived with my aunt but didn’t last long and then lived with my neighbour.My older brother and sister had to work to support us instead of going to school. I want to become an engineer in the future so that I can make money and support my siblings as well as others. I don’t know exactly which engineer what I want to be but it sounds very interesting to me.

 

Tun Tun Lin is interviewing with Mae Tao Clinic Child Protection Department staff

My name is Tun Tun Lin. I am 14 years old from Karen state[1], Burma. I have 6 siblings; of them, I am the youngest and only 4 siblings, including me, had chances to go to school while my older brother and sister had to work instead due to the economic condition.

My father passed away when I was 3-month old. Since he departed this life my mother had struggled to make a living for her 6 children. I guess my mother couldn’t bear all hardships alone. One day she was found dead — I was very little at that time. A few years ago, I learned from my aunt that my mother threw away her life. Since then we were living in Thailand along the Thai-Burma border with my aunt. But it didn’t last long as my aunt decided to go to Bangkok in search of work, so our neighbour, who we called grandmother took care of us for many years. As the situation in Burma got better after the democratic government inaugurated, our guardian, grandmother decided to go back to her hometown. She searched for boarding houses that can accommodate us in the village. We are admitted to Hway Ka Loke boarding house that is located near in Mae Pa[2]. Four of us had been living in the boarding house together until two siblings got married.

My Education

Children Development Learning Centre (CDLC)

Children Development Learning Centre (CDLC) class rooms

I am in grade 6 at the Children Development Learning Centre (CDLC), Hway Ka Loke School. My favourite subject at school is Myanmar language because it is easy for me. I love playing football outside of the school.

I have been living in the boarding house since I was around 7 years old. Living in the boarding house is good – I feel very safe. I like my boarding house because I am surrounded by many friends who are supportive and kind. I feel very warm and loved. I still talk with my aunt who moved to Bangkok. She kindly sends me some allowances sometimes. I guess she feels relieved that we are doing well here.

Tun Tun Lin is participating in group discussion

My Dream

I want to become an engineer in the future. I don’t know exactly which engineer what I want to be but it sounds very interesting to me. I want to support my siblings and others when I make money.

Dry Food Programme

Dry food programme is very important for me. Through this programme, boarding house students, including me are able to have enough foods. Without such support, I assume that I might not be able to live in the boarding house and study at school as I have no money to afford the cost for education. I feel that I’m healthy, protected and looked after by someone. I wonder without food how I can read, write, and study?

 

(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 More Students here


Poor economic conditions and the lack of educational facilities are forcing students to leave their hometowns in Burma, and seek education and protection along the Thai-Burma border. Boarding houses ensure children access to education and protection. The Dry Food Programme provides food rations to 1,952 children and staff at 23 boarding houses in migrant communities (Thailand) and 15 boarding houses in IDP areas (Burma) managed by the Karen Women Organisation (KWO). The programme provides boarding house children with basic food provisions every month. Children living in the boarding house are protected from child labour and trafficking.

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[1] 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.

[2] Mae Pa: The district (Amphoe) Mae Sot, Tak province is subdivided into 10 subdistricts. Mae Pa is one of the subdistricts. [Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mae_Sot_District]