As the brave people of Myanmar face up to the country’s new challenges, your crisis care supports children in Rakhine State in danger of missing out on school.
Caring for children in crisis
CRISIS UPDATE: 10 FEBRUARY 2021
As you’d understand, we need to be very sensitive at this time about what we share in the on-line space.
The partner you support in Myanmar through ALWS updated us yesterday. These are their words:
- At present, all staff are safe, healthy, and accounted for
- Programmatically, most activities are able to continue
- Non-food Items have been distributed for Internally Displaced People.
Showkat is one of the those living in a camp for Internally Displaced People (on left above).
The military coup which last week left people on edge comes after 8 long years of fear and uncertainty in the IDP Camp. Showkat and her family came here when conflict drove Rohingya people like them from their homes in Rakhine State in Myanmar.
The camp where they are forced to live now is severely over-crowded.
Sanitation is basic. COVID-19 is a real risk.
Before help from agencies like ALWS, there was little chance for any of the 30,000 children here to go to school.
Showkat has never had the chance to go to school.
The 15 year old has a disability that means she cannot speak, can barely walk, and has difficulty using her hands. Showkat’s mum Arefa explains:
“We tried Showkat once in kindergarten,
but the teachers couldn’t care for her,
as they have to watch so many children.”
No one yet knows what last week’s events will mean for the everyday people of Myanmar, let alone the 144,000 Rohingya people confined to IDP Camps.
Including 30,000 children.
Dozens with disabilities like Showkat.
Yet, Showkat has this miracle smile.
She has seen other children go off to the Temporary Learning Centres supported by ALWS, and finds a way to communicate with her family that she wants to go to school too.
Principal Yunus, who you see here with Showkat, says he would love to welcome Showkat into school – along with the 14 other children in this part of the camp who also have disabilities.
“The teacher would like to open a class for them, but does not know where to start.
We will need qualified teachers.
It would also be great if we had a proper classroom, together with physical assistance and mental support for them.”
This is where you step in.
Through ALWS, you make sure children like Showkat are not forgotten.
Partnered by the Australian Government, you support a 3 Step Program to help children with disabilities in the IDP Camps to go to school. You:
- Identify children with special needs
- Map the things that stop these children going to school
- Plan ways to overcome the challenges
WHAT YOU DO FOR CHILDREN
Phyu Zin Thet Naing, an Education Officer you support to work in the camp, describes the kinds of help you give children like Showkat:
“These could include physical improvements to Temporary Learning Centres. The provision of assistive devices. Training for teachers on how to identify and support children with disabilities who are already in their classrooms.”
Your ALWS action also includes an Accelerated Learning Program for over-age students who have missed out on school, so they can catch up and integrate into mainstream schools.
When COVID-19 forced the closure of schools last year, your team found new ways to make sure children didn’t miss out on school.
They developed home-based learning materials, which were made disability-inclusive, to help children with disabilities get ready for mainstream school.
It is too soon to know what impact the current crisis will have on the Temporary Learning Centres you support inside the IDP Camps.
For now, Showkat (who you see here with her mum) must wait a little longer for school.
What we do know is that the education you support
is a precious gift to any child inside these IDP Camps.
When we visited a couple of years ago, the children told us how excited they were to go to school. They wanted to learn new things and make new friends and have something positive to do to fill their days.
Best of all, the education they receive is something
no one can take away – it is a blessing ALWayS.
Perhaps that’s why Showkat can keep on smiling despite all the challenges she faces.
Thank you for everything you do through ALWS for children like Showkat. And for all the other children you help go to school inside the IDP Camps in Myanmar.
As we confront whatever happens next in Myanmar …
… your kindness and commitment will be more precious than ever … giving the miracle gift of school … so special children like Showkat keep on having a reason to smile. Thank you!
CRISIS UPDATE: 3 FEBRUARY 2021
International media reports that a military coup in Myanmar has displaced the elected government.
ALWS is in close contact with our partners on the ground, delivering your care to children at risk in some of the most difficult areas of Myanmar, including Rakhine State.
Your life-changing work supports:
- 5,388 Rohingya children in 8 Displaced Persons Camps to go to school in 59 Temporary Learning Spaces and 30 Government schools
- local Rakhine children from the host community at school
- 9,975 people to access their land rights, human rights and legal identity
Beyond this work you support through ALWS, our partners on the ground support people across Myanmar in the areas of:
- human rights
- displaced people’s camp management
- protection and social cohesion
- climate change
- gender justice
- disaster risk reduction and fire safety
- water and sanitation
- inclusion of people with disabilities
- food security
This life-transforming work in Myanmar aims to make sure people at risk are not forgotten during this changing difficult time. ALWS has been in close contact with our implementing partners in Myanmar, and they assure us that front-line staff remain safe.
The priority now is to support our partners to find ways to work in this new reality.
The aim is to make sure the communities you support through ALWS can be reached with the care they need – especially children, and families in Displaced Persons Camps.
Our partner in Myanmar has asked us to pass on this message to ALWS supporters:
Thank you for your continued close partnership
as we work together for the people of Myanmar.
MYANMAR REFUGEES IN BANGLADESH
Over past years, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people have fled Rakhine State in Myanmar to Bangladesh.
Through ALWS, you work with them inside the world’s largest refugee camp at Cox’s Bazar, providing those in most need with:
- Supplementary Food for lactating mothers (milk powder, vermicelli, fruits)
- Hygiene Kits (soap, detergent)
- Learning Kits to children from host community
- Dignity Kits for menstruating teenage girls
- Sanitation work across the camps (cleaning drains)
- Tree-planting (for shade and to protect environment)
- Poultry distribution (to generate income)
- Cash Grants to start small business (dried fish selling, vegetable stalls, sell milk)
- Mosquito Nets
- Cash for Work
In all this work, in both Myanmar and Bangladesh, your ALWS focus is on those people at risk of being forgotten in the crisis. This includes children, the elderly, people with disability, people whose human rights have been ignored.
Schools inside the Camp
At a Displaced Persons Camp in Rakhine State, children and their families live with little food, hardly any healthcare, and an atmosphere of fear and distrust. You can help change all that…
These children were toddlers when the conflict that ruined their lives happened.
When we talked to their parents, they told us how their houses were burned down.
How ‘men with long knives’ came and attacked.
How they were driven from their homes to these camps, and are still here.
Yet when you meet these children in the 30 second video below, you will be inspired.
Despite everything they’ve suffered, they’re determined to build something better. As Engineer. Mid-wife. Doctor. Teacher. Hygiene Officer. Nutritionist. Police Officer.
And you can help them build this future.
These schools are part of an ALWS plan to support building 48 Temporary Learning Spaces and 20 Child Friendly Spaces for Muslim Rohingya children.
At the same time, you’ll support Buddhist Rakhine children in 15 schools, as these children are also victims of poverty and the brutal conflict.
Buildings need to be repaired, renovated or simply built. Teachers need to be recruited, and trained, and equipped with the teaching aids they need. Children both Rakhine and Rohingya, Buddhist and Muslim, need schoolbags and text-books and pencils and papers – and even raincoats!
The great news is that YOU can help
with a gift through ALWS.
As you give, you share the message that peace is possible, that neighbours are neighbours, that all are equally deserving of respect and rights.
It is in these small steps that trust can be rebuilt. Forgiveness offered. Healing begun.
Building by building, teacher by teacher, lesson by lesson – you can bring love to life where so much love has been lost.
Want to know more?
- 1.1 million Rohingya people live in Rakhine State in Myanmar
- Rohingya people are mostly Muslim, while Myanmar is officially Buddhist
- Rohingya people are not recognised as an official ethnic group in Myanmar, which means they can’t apply for citizenship and have few laws to protect their rights
- This means Rohingya people are often the subject of violent attacks, and forced to flee their homes
- Many find safety in Internally Displaced Persons Camps, where schools are needed for children who may live there for many years
- At the same time, you help support Buddhist Rakhine children to go to school, as these children are also victims of poverty and the brutal conflict.
You help provide school for children in Rakhine State in 98 educational facilities in 33 villages and camps. This is made up of:
- 22 government schools
- 48 temporary leaning spaces
- 20 child-friendly spaces
- 6 non-formal education programs
- 2 non-formal primary education programs.
Your help includes:
- building and renovating schools
- training teachers
- providing teaching and learning kits – including school books, school bags, and classroom resources
- equipping parents to participate in the school community.