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Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

Providing electricity in rural Myanmar

Chee and Jeru (pictured above) are best friends and neighbours from a small mountain village in eastern Myanmar. As two nine-year-old boys in Grade 5 they both spend their time attending their village school, fetching water and playing with their friends. Additionally, as the boys are both from farming families, they often join their parents to help harvest crops.

“Sometimes we pick corn and other fruits on the farm so our families can eat,” explains Chee.

Their village is located in Kayah State, a region with a history of conflict and large population displacement. As a result, infrastructure development and access to basic services, such as education and healthcare, remains very poor. Many families and children continue to live in extreme poverty.

Until recently, Chee and Jeru’s village did not have access to electricity. While they were able to study at school in natural daylight, once darkness fell they were unable to continue their studies at home or complete their homework.

Living without electricity can significantly impact the academic performance of school children, and affect their future opportunities.

 

A solar-powered house in Kayah State, supported by ChildFund and local partner LDN

To address this issue, ChildFund is working in partnership with the Local Development Network (LDN), a local organisation in Kayah State, which provides solar panels to homes and school supplies for children like Chee and Jeru. The installation of solar panels and distribution of stationery has now occurred in 20 villages across Kayah State.

Jeru says this has made a huge difference in his life: “Before I never studied at night, but now I can.”

The ChildFund-supported project also works to strengthen the relationship between parents and their children’s schools by organising Parents and Teachers Associations in villages. These small organisations help students, parents and teachers to work effectively at improving the learning conditions and success of local schools.

Chee and Jeru, as well as other children in their village, are already enjoying the benefits of these initiatives. Through the work of ChildFund and LDN, they have been provided with equipment that will improve their quality of education, and give them a brighter future.

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