Meet Our Students (29): Hlaing’s Story

“If I were still in Burma I might not have had an opportunity to attend school as both my parents do not have any income. Sometimes I want to give up everything and go back home, living with my family because I miss them so much. Nevertheless, having access to education without concerning basic needs, such as school fees, safety and accommodation is more important than anything for me.”

My name is Hlaing.[1] I am 17-year old. I am grade 10, studying at Children’s Development Center (CDC)[2].

I am originally from Karen state, Burma. I have 2 younger brothers and a sister; all of them attend school in Burma and live with my mother. My father is a volunteer health worker in a community in Karen State[3]. Although he works full time, he basically has no salary.

If I were still in Burma I might not have had an opportunity to attend school as both my parents do not have any income. Indeed, my parents were about to have me leave school due to financial difficulties. I was lucky enough that I am currently studying at the CDC school in Thailand. When I found that my parents would send me to Thailand, I was so glad as I didn’t have to drop out of school half way through.

It has been already 5 years since I left home. I miss my parents and siblings. Sometimes I want to give up everything and go back home, living with my family.

Nevertheless, having access to education without concerning basic but essential needs, such as school fees, safety and accommodation is more important than anything for me. In the boarding house, free meals are also provided.

I like studying English. I believe that the higher level of the language, I can have more educational opportunities in the future.

My dream is to be a health worker. One day I want to return to my community and provide health care services to people in need. To achieve my dream, I would like to join the post-10 programme and improve my English skill. This will lead me to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing or public health at University.

I would like to thank all donors who support me and other children in the boarding house to have rights to education. Their support helps us having a better life.

(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] For student’s privacy, we used an alias.

[2] 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.

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

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