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Child poverty and access to education in Myanmar

Despite the political and economic changes that have swept through Myanmar in recent years, poverty continues to be a defining factor in children’s access to basic education.

Many children work to help their families earn a living, particularly older siblings who sacrifice their education for the younger children. As a result, sadly, one in four children do not complete primary school and 10-year-old Win from Mandalay is one of many students at risk. This is his story.

How poverty affects a child’s learning

Win’s schoolroom houses two different classes and is very overcrowded. With one class taught at one end of the room, while another teacher instructs a different grade at the other end, it can be hard for students to hear properly and concentrate.

This is not the classroom we’re accustomed to in countries like Australia or the United States. There are no shelves full of books for children to engage in reading. The classroom itself is usually old, leaky and run down. Most children also can’t afford pens, pencils and other school supplies that we take for granted.

Beyond the classroom, the journey to school can be long and arduous in rural communities. Many children must walk miles to their lessons in the heat or cold, which means it is much more likely that they will not continue their education.

How family life affects a child’s education

Win`s mother peels onions for a living, with Win helping out often. His father is unable to work due to a disability, which means earning a living falls upon his mother and the elder children. The family barely survives on an income of just $3 a day.

Like most children, Win dreams of finishing school, going to university, and getting a good job: “When I grow up, I hope to become an engineer. I want to help build brick buildings for people.”

Children in developing countries have dreams for a brighter future. Their dreams are no different than those we had as children. They are also no less deserving of the opportunity to realise them.

Sponsor a community to give children a brighter future

If you want to help children like Win stay in school and make their dreams come true, becoming a community sponsor is a powerful way to help children in need.

Your sponsorship will help create child friendly schools in developing communities, help provide vocational training for out of school youth, among other community development projects across South East Asia.

You can also donate an education-focused charity gift to help a child in the countries where we work get ahead in life. Fight gender inequality by funding a girl’s education, buy school supplies for a child in need and more. We offer many ways for you to give, because every child deserves a childhood.

“My name is Win. I am 10 years old and in grade 3 at school.”

“My favourite subject at school is maths. We have to subtract, add, divide and multiply, and my teacher is really good at showing us how to work things out.”

“In my class, it`s sometimes hard to learn because of all the noise. We also have to sit as three students to one bench, which is squashy at times.”

“It would be nice if we got new classrooms at our school. That way, it would be more spacious and easier to learn.”

“Even though I study now, I worry that one day my parents might not be able to afford to keep me in school. I`m afraid that I might not be able to learn together with my friends.”

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