Meet Our Students (33): Say’s Story

There was no education facility in my hometown that’s why my parents sent us to Thailand to accss education. Even though I was a little child, I still remember how much I was scared and terrified of the sound of bullets and shells exploding all around us.

I want to become a health care provider for my community. Villagers in my hometown treat illnesses with herbal medicine. In case of severe diseases, they reluctantly go to the government hospital but this is very rare because most villagers cannot afford medical bills.

My name is Say[1] and I am 18 years old. I live in G boarding house[2] since 2011. I am in grade 10 at H Migrant Learning Centre (MLC) [3]. I am originally from Karen State, Burma. I have 7 siblings, including me; of them, I am the fourth. Some of my siblings study in a refugee camp while some do at MLCs. My parents are still living in Karen state, doing hill farming.

My parents decided to send us to Thailand to access education and protection. There was no education facility in my hometown. Most villagers consist of those who fled from armed conflicts and had no access to education. I also had fled from the civil war. Even though I was a little child at that time, I remember that my house was burned down. I still feel how much I was scared and terrified of the sound of bullets and shells exploding all around us.

I believe if I still lived in Burma, I would not be able to study but instead, I would have become a housewife working to support the family at an early age like most of the villagers.

Gate of the Boarding House

Living in a boarding house makes me feel safe. I enjoy small tasks given at the boarding house, such as cooking or cleaning as a group.

Hardships

I cannot find any challenges with regard to life in the boarding house. But I find it hard to catch up with my study at school, mainly because of language issues. My mother language is Karen and I studied in Karen before. But we learn everything in Burmese here as the school consists of many students with different ethnicities. We also learn Thai and English as well.

Another issue I have is a vision problem. I cannot see things clearly with my right eye. My right eye swelled up for some reason when I was a little kid. We didn’t have proper health facilities and my parents didn’t have enough knowledge of the treatment: what they did was to try to treat my eye with herbal medicine. Fortunately, the swelling went down but since then tears are falling from the eye continuously.

Regardless of these hardships, I am trying my best at school. During my free time, I study English vocabularies. I think learning English is in particular important not just because it is the international language but also the good English level will give me more chances to pursue further study at university. I also like weaving Karen traditional clothes during free time.

Boarding House Student Preparing The Meal

Boarding House Children Gardening

My Dream

What motivates me to study is that I want to be educated and want to help my next generation to access education. I chose not to go back to my hometown during this summer vacation but instead I decided to attend the computer training. We learn Microsoft office and data management.

I want to become a health care provider. On one hand, I want to be a doctor so that I can provide health care services to my community. On the other hand, I want to be a pharmacist as there is no drug store in my community. Villagers in my hometown treat illnesses with herbal medicine. In case of severe diseases, they reluctantly go to the government hospital but this is very rare because most villagers cannot afford medical bills and the distance is too far.

Dry Food Programme

Thanks to the Dry Food Programme I am provided access to education and protection. If there is no such programme like this, I think many children, including me, would not be able to go to school and consequently they would have ended up working somewhere. I would like to say thank all supporters for their generous contribution, love, and cares.

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

[3] For the student’s privacy, we used an initial.

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