Maw Oo Myar
When seeing a group of school-age children cleaning the compound; some holding hoe while some holding sword, they are actually cultivating crop themselves happily and actively with the expectation to consume fresh vegetable.
They are the children who are from remote villages located in Shardaw Township and struggling for continuing their education. They are living together in the boarding house, operated by a group of Karenni Youths, to continue their education.
The boarding house is named as “Phay Soe Lay Luiz-moe Klwue Boarding House”. Khu Ra Reh, the person in charge, explained the purpose of the boarding house, “We opened this boarding house to help support especially the children to be able to continue attending middle school (or) high school in the city.”
There are currently 35 total students in that boarding house. Most of the students are from remote villages in Shardaw Township, and they are struggling for their education.
Although they now repatriate in their villages which were suffered from civil war in the past, they have to be continuing their education by staying at boarding house far from their place, in Shardaw Township, as there is no school in their repatriated villages.
The boarding house was established in last 2018 at the Northern Collective Village in Shardaw Township.
The boarding house is established with the supports of the youths; some Karenni youths who resettled from Karenni Refugee Camp to third countries by UN’s support, a group of Karenni youths who are Morning Star group located in refugee camp, and Phay Soe Lay Youth who live in Shardaw Township. Those youths discussed together building this to provide opportunity for the children from Phay Soe Lay Region (Shardaw Township) to be able to continue their education.
The boarding house is currently running with the financial support by the Karenni (5) youths (named Phay Soe Lay Dream) who are from third country, and some other donors are also donating as much as they can.
The students are supposed to contribute a bucket of rice per student, and the curry, book, pen, pencil, and soap like Accessories and so on are donated by the responsible persons.
Khu Ra Reh said they would like to keep running their boarding house for children to be able to continue children’s education, but they have difficulties as the donors will support for only five years.
“First priority for students is their study room to study, a place to study day or night. We still could not prepare the separated study hall for them. They have to study on their bed. The consequence is they fall asleep easily. It is not OK. We also don’t have any table. The first priority in needs are these things. For study room, we would like to separate as study hall for them.”, explained Khu Ra Reh about the hardest things currently encountering in boarding house.
Totally 35 students and two of their responsible teachers, and the chef are living together in that boarding house, which the upper flat is covered with bamboo wall.
The person in charge explained its difficulties that students got to study on their bed as there is no separated study room.
Shardaw Township is one of the under-developed townships in Kayah (Karenni) State. The township is also one of the townships suffered the most from civil war during the four cuts. When it starts turning to stable politics, the parents who lost the education opportunity endeavor to find education opportunity for their children. In Shardaw region, there are very low numbers of adults who got chance to study.
“During the four cuts, some villagers reached to Shan State’s border line. There are conditions the villagers returned to Shardaw Township only when it became a bit stable. Most of the students are from those families. Besides, there is no school in their villages. Although there is no more civil war, they are the ones who had to flee and shelter to the safe place.”, explained Ra Reh the background of boarding students.
“I come staying here as I want to continue my studying. We have only primary school in our village.”, said Khu Kay Reh who explained the reason of living in the boarding house.
In the weekends, students usually do boarding-house cleaning and plantation, exploring of their ethnical history, and cleaning rubbish in Shardaw City for clean environment.
Some Karenni youths said that there are still few numbers of parents who motivate their children to study. Those parents are the ones who lost opportunity to study due to the flee from civil war in the past.
Therefore, the Karenni youths themselves are struggling as much as they can for their community development and finding the opportunity for the school-aged children, who will become future leaders, in order to be able to continue their education.