Meet Our Students (27): Htoo’s Story

My name is Htoo. I am 12-year old. I currently live in Ga Yuth Nar boarding house and study at Hsa Tu Gaw migrant learning centre. When I grow up, I want to be a doctor and go back to my hometown because there is no doctor or medic there. Most of the time we utilise herbal medicines or traditional treatment by ourselves. I strongly believe that we need a medical professional in my village. I’d love to improve healthcare services and share my knowledge with others in the future.

My name is Htoo.[1] I am 12-year old. I currently live in Ga Yuth Nar boarding house and I study at Hsa Tu Gaw migrant learning centre (MLC)[2]. I am originally from a small village in Karen state, Burma.

My parents are subsistence farmers. They grow rice during the rainy season and beans during the dry season. I have a big family. I have 8-siblings; of them, I am the fourth. Six of my siblings, including me, attend school while two youngest ones are at home as they are not school-aged yet. Four are studying at MLCs in Thailand: two at Has Thoo Lei MLC and one in Mae La Camp[3] and me at Has Tu Gaw, and other two are in Burma.

In my village, there is only one school that provides education up to grade 5. If one wants to continue studying, one should go to a town. My parents did their best to send us to school in Burma. They supported my eldest brother to study in the town but the cost of education was beyond their affordability. They were not able to afford after my brother finished grade 9. My parents eventually decided to send us to Thailand to attend MLCs that provides free education. They are poor but they didn’t want us to give up our studies. This year my brother, sister and I came to Thailand.

Since I arrived in Thailand I haven’t been able to talk to them. I cannot talk with my parents often as they live in a remote area where is surrounded by mountains: they do not own cell phones and have no access to the internet. I cannot visit my hometown either even if I want to. During the summer holidays, I couldn’t go back as it was too costly to travel.

Boarding House

Front view of the Ga Yuth Nar boarding house

I was not happy in the boarding house at first. It was very strange to me to live in a place without my family. But more I live here I am happier. I’ve made a lot of friends both at the boarding house and school. I really like everything gets done according to the timetable: bedtime, mealtime, school time, etc., which makes me punctual. I am also really happy that the boarding house takes really good care of us. In the boarding house, we as a group are given tasks, such as cleaning, watering plants and cooking. This group work helps me a lot to learn how to cooperate and support each other with my peers.

Student cleaning the room

Student cooking at the kitchen

Students cleaning the boarding house compound

My Education

I am in grade 6 at Hsa Tu Gar migrant learning centre. I especially like the English language because I think it is a useful skill to have.

Students watering the garden

My dream

When I grow up, I want to be a doctor and go back to my hometown because there is no doctor or medic there. Our only option to get a treatment was visiting a hospital in town in case the sickness is serious. Most of the time we utilise herbal medicines or traditional treatment by ourselves. I strongly believe that we need a medical professional in my village. I’d love to improve healthcare services and share my knowledge with others in the future.

Dry Food Programme

The Dry Food programme is essential for me and other children in my boarding house. All of us are from different background and each of us have our own difficulties that is why we are here. We would have given up our studies and gone back to our village to work at an early age if the programme didn’t exist.

I would like to thank all donors for their generous contribution and ask them for a continuous support. With your support, we are able to access to education and protection.

 

(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.)

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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] We used an alias for the student’s privacy

[2] Migrant Learning Centre (MLC): Migrant learning centres were established to give all migrant children access to quality education that is relevant and useful to them. Thanks to the support of donors and NGOs, most migrant learning centres around Mae Sot have come a long way from the early days when people ran classrooms out of bamboo huts and shops. [BMWEC website: http://www.bmwec.org/background/]

[3] Mae La refugee camp: Mae La is by far the largest of the nine camps, with a population of more than 37,000 people or some 6,700 households. More than three-quarters of the population come from Karen/Kayin State, while around 10 percent are from Mon State and more than 8 percent are from Bago Region in Burma/Myanmar. Small numbers also come from Yangon city and the Ayeyarwady Region. [The Border Consortium: http://www.theborderconsortium.org/where-we-work/camps-in-thailand/mae-la/]

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