Conflict and poverty mean children in Rakhine State struggle to access quality education. The project works through a consortium of faith-based development agencies, and is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP) and the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).
Caring for children in crisis
In Myanmar, your work focuses on supporting children with disabilities to go to school, making sure no child is excluded from education, and safeguarding children from danger.
Showkat lives in a camp for Internally Displaced People (IDP) in Myanmar.
She came here with her family 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.”
Showkat 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 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.”
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.
The education you support is a precious gift to any child inside these IDP Camps – a gift no-one can ever take away. Thank you!
Find out more about...
- 8 camps organized Parent Teacher Associations and hosted Peer Learning Meetings
- Parent Teacher Associations were supported to be more gender and disability inclusive, and to support parents help children’s learning
- Needs assessments for 74 students with disability was conducted and their needs supported
- Parent Teacher Associations regularly monitor school safety and security, and raise awareness on child protection to prevent trafficking and exploitation
- Parent Teacher Associations conducted awareness raising activities to reduce the spread of COVID-19
- Child Clubs met to raise awareness of rights, build leadership skills and promote equal decision making between girls and boys.
Supporting strong community-based structures such as Parent Teachers Associations and child clubs not only ensures project ownership but also project continuity when humanitarian access is limited.
Despite the restriction on movements in Myanmar, project activities have continued with the support of these structures.
More than 11,000 children including children living with disabilities from Rohingya communities in Rakhine State have been supported to access education despite the ongoing civil unrest.
Nay Chi is 11 years old, and has lived in a Displaced Persons Camp in Rakhine State in Myanmar nearly her whole life.
Her dad died during the conflict that forced the family here, and now her mum works as a cleaner to protect the children from starving.
Nay Chi lives with a disability that severely limits her vision. Before your ALWS help through our partner LWF Myanmar, she struggled at school.
She could not see the lessons on the whiteboard, read from books or do drawing or painting.
Your ALWS work in Displaced Persons Camps in Myanmar, in partnership with the Australian Government, has a special focus on girls, and children with disabilities, who may otherwise miss out on education.
The good news is Nay Chi’s visual impairment can be treated, and she is already able to join in more fully at school. She’s reached Grade 1, and now looks forward to a brighter future:
“If I am educated, I will be able to achieve my goal. Then, I will have a better life and can help my
mother, and my brother. I will try to become a teacher.”
– Nay Chi