Education is everything!
Its the difference from having a job and supporting a family, to trying to survive from day to day as a laborer in the rice fields. After the military seized power in 1962 “a war on education” began. In 1988 things got worse when the regime began shutting down Universities all over the country and education became the last thing on the country’s mind. In 2008, things have begun to change and open up to the outside world, however education is still secondary or further back on the list of things to do.
My time in Myanmar was spent with Joana Jones of Asian Children’s Mission, an American mother trying to change this paradigm that the poor and orphaned children of Myanmar find themselves in. These children are the last on the list to educate and she with her team are in the process of changing that. They have 2 orphanages (one in the North and one outside of Yangon) and 9 teachers educating children in the Delta region. The Delta region is where most of the teachers and people were killed when Cyclone Nargis hit in 2008. Below is Karen (an ethnic group) teacher who is a survivor of Nargis, she is from a village where fewer than 100 people survived out of 600. Her story is quite dramatic, from escaping death to dedicating her life to teaching the children of the region.
We spent a lot of time with Josiah of Hope Children’s Home, and what I had come to realize very quickly is that it wasn’t just an orphanage, but that it was a HOME/a FAMILY. We observed a family of close to 50 participants, including children (42) and adults interacting and loving one another. They played together, they ate together, and they studied together. It was an amazing time and I can’t wait to get back there.