Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

Giving children the right start in Myanmar

San San Kyi is principal of a preschool in Mandalay. The preschool was established 17 years ago to provide affordable early childhood education for children in the community. San San Kyi has been teaching there for 16 of those years.

In 2013 ChildFund supported the construction of a new preschool building.

“The old building did not have enough space. The roof leaked and it was muddy and wet,” San San Kyi says. “The children could not sleep and it was difficult to teach. There was no electricity and insufficient water.”

“It was very old and about to fall down,” she adds. “We were worried that it would collapse and hurt the children in a storm or strong wind. When the children jumped up and down, the building would shake.”

The old preschool building did not have space for all the children who wanted to attend. Now San San Kyi and her other teacher, 22-year-old Mon Aye Nyein, can accommodate many more children.

San San Kyi says: “We are absolutely delighted with the new building. The children will have space to play and jump and run. I couldn’t allow them to do that before.

Putting the finishing touches on the new preschool building

“The preschool is important for parents. It allows them to work. And it is good for children to get a basic education before primary school. It provides discipline and structure.”

Mother-of-six Than Than Hla knows the preschool well. Her four eldest children attended the school and her two youngest, Ei Ei Win and Wine Chit, still attend.

“I’m really delighted to send our children to this preschool. It’s really helpful for me in supporting my children to be educated. I feel very happy when I see them come back from preschool reading, writing and singing,” she says.

San San Kyi and children in their old preschool building

Than Than Hla is a vendor, hawking meat, fruit and vegetables and her husband, Paw San, is a labourer who also buys and sells scrap. They want their children to be educated so they will have opportunities they never received.

“The children are clever so we want them to get a good education.”

“My husband and I are not educated. In the future when we are old, we hope our children can stand on their own feet and not be poor like us.”

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