Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

What happens when a child, through no fault of their own, is forced into great adversity?

What happens when a child, born into poverty, is forced to help raise a sibling and work on the streets before they can even read and write?

This is the personal account of one resilient and courageous young girl who faced such obstacles, and is now looking forward to a brighter future.

My name is May Su*. I am 11 years old. I live in Myanmar.

I’ve been out of school for about four years already. I dropped out of school because I don’t have money. My mother also passed away and there was my month-old little sister who needed care.

I felt very sad when I had to drop out of school.

When I was in school, I liked going to school with my friends and playing with my friends.

I had to sell water spinach after I dropped out. When I first started selling, I was shy and scared.

I’ve been selling water spinach for more than two years now. Over that time, I also had to look after my little sister. I sell water spinach from 7am. After selling, I go home to cook. I cook rice, curries, fry eggs and water spinach. Then I go to the non-formal education class supported by ChildFund.

In the evening, I sell from 4pm to about 5 or 6pm. My legs ache from walking.

Recently I visited Myanmar to attend the opening of a new teacher training college, funded by ChildFund with the help of our wonderful supporters.

There are very few teacher training facilities in Myanmar, so it’s one of the important ways we can help provide quality education in the country.

I also visited a non-formal school that ChildFund supports in a slum community outside of Yangon. This is what I learned about the children who attend the school, and my thoughts on what can be done to help them.

 

Child labour deprives children of their childhood

All of the children who attend the school have to work, forced by poverty to contribute to their household income from a young age.

It’s very upsetting to see kids having to live this way, but it was tremendous to see them in class, enjoying the chance to be a child again for a time. Every child needs that.

What struck me most was the passion and determination of the children, especially an 11-year-old girl called May Su.

 

Creating opportunities for children with education

 

She was forced out of mainstream school at just seven and was so thankful for a second chance to learn.

Projects like this make such a difference.