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Yadanar’s new chapter to a brighter future

Yadanar has always loved reading so the first thing she noticed at her new school was the library. There were so many books, each of them neatly placed, side by side.

“We didn’t have a library in my old school,” 11-year-old Yadanar (pictured above) says. “Being able to access a library was a new experience for me.”

When Yadanar moved to the east of Yangon city, Myanmar, earlier this year she was afraid of having to attend a new school. Her parents had started new jobs – her father in construction and her mother as a kitchenhand – to earn a higher income to support her and her older sisters, but the thought of being the “new girl” at school was daunting.

Yadanar, however, had nothing to worry about. Her peers were friendly and she made friends quickly. Plus, there was the library.

Yadanar spent her early childhood in a poor town west of Yangon city, where most of the residents were squatters. The schools she attended were basic. There were no libraries, few resources and the quality of teaching was poor.

Her new school, which ChildFund Myanmar supports through the Monastic Education Development Group in Myanmar, is free and for children from disadvantaged families. Yadanar was surprised by how different it was to her previous schools; not only were there books to read but her teacher was engaging and the lessons were active and interesting.

“I feel happy at my new school because there are group activities,” Yadanar, who is in Grade 4, says. “For example, when we learn science we share our knowledge with each other. That’s so exciting.

 “There were no group activities in my old school.”

This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

Yadanar, age 11, with her Grade 4 teacher Aye, who is passionate about making sure children from vulnerable families get the best education possible.

The library is her favourite place to spend her free time. There, she and her friends share stories and read as many books as they can.

Yadanar’s teacher Aye has always been passionate about making sure children like Yadanar from vulnerable families get the best education possible, however her teaching skills have been limited.

Aye says since ChildFund began training and upskilling teachers in early 2018, her knowledge has improved significantly. She has learnt how to implement lessons that are child-friendly, so learning is an engaging and fun experience for her students.

“I used to scold and shout at my students,” she says. “I never thought that this could be traumatic for them; I only wanted the best for them.”

With ChildFund’s help, Aye says teachers and members of the school management committee, which includes school leaders and parents, have committed to implementing new child-friendly systems and infrastructure to improve the quality of education for students.

“Classrooms have been upgraded, and the school environment has become safer,” Aye says. “These changes are just the first steps. We have to continue creating a better school environment for the children.”

Myint, a member of the school’s management committee and whose daughter and son attend the school, says since ChildFund introduced the child-friendly schools framework to teachers and parents, her children have been less stressed about their studies and exams.

She says a quality education is the best thing she can give to her children to ensure they have a brighter future.

“Life is so hard for us who didn’t complete an education,” she says. “I don’t want it to be same for my children.”

This project is supported by the Australian Government through the ANCP program. 

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