By Emma Charlston, Marketing and Communications Coordinator CUFA
and By Kundi Lay, International Projects Supervisor CUFA
Education in Myanmar is a privilege, which many young children do not get. The Myanmar Teachers Project is encouraging a greater number of teachers to work in monasteries and other institutions, providing free access to education for children too poor to attend local government schools.
Such a program is changing lives, giving the gift of knowledge to young people in Myanmar and allowing them to break out of the poverty cycle.
Thanda, like most other 12 year old girls, enjoys playing, joking and laughing with her friends at school. When she grows up she has a dream to become a teacher, inspiring other young children to find their dream.
She is mostly a very happy child but sometimes she misses her home and her family, which she left when she was just six years old.
Thanda’s brother does not attend school as he is at home looking after his grandparents and helping with the family business, producing peanut oil for sale at the local market.
Her parents wanted a different life for Thanda, they wanted her to have the gift of knowledge. So, at just at six years of age, Thanda was sent to a monastery in a nearby rural province, where she would learn the Buddhist ways but also receive a good education. She lived there for five years before moving to Lashio one year ago, where she continues to learn and develop her dream of becoming a teacher and where she will finish her schooling.
Thanda told Kundi Lay, International Programs Manager for CUFA, that living away from home for so long is very hard. She misses home very much but wants to do well at school for herself and her family. It is sometimes hard when the bigger nuns shout at her but she has made many friends at the monastery, they are like a sisterhood. Thanda likes her teachers in the monastery; they are patient and creative with how they teach.
Thanda and her friends recognise, even at such a young age, that the teachers do not get paid very much money which spurs the students on, encouraging them to behave in class and work hard while at school. They know that the Myanmar Teacher Project proudly supported by Teachers Mutual Bank, QT Mutual Bank and Victoria Teachers Mutual Bank is helping teachers, paying them a better salary which means that teachers can give more time and energy to their students and create a better learning environment.
Now in the 3rd grade Thanda is learning school subjects like maths and history as well the teachings of Buddhism. Thanda finds English very hard but she loves learning about Myanmar Literature and one day wants to be able to teach this to students.
Education makes dreams a possibility. For 12 year old Thanda an education has instilled a passion to become a teacher of Myanmar literature and while getting an education has not been without obstacles, she is determined to work hard and make her family proud.