THE ROAD BACK TO EDUCATION: ONE GIRL’S STORY
Eee Nwant is a normal 12 year old girl living in rural Myanmar; before the COVID-19 pandemic, she loved going to school every day and seeing her friends there. This is a story of how she’s working through adversity and back to education, with the help of United World Schools.
In rural communities in Myanmar, a 12 year old girl is considered to be old enough to work or get married to help the family – but before the pandemic, Eee Nwant’s parents were proud of her academic progress, and they wanted her to continue her education. Neither of them had ever been to school, and they used to work in Thailand to support their children whilst Eee Nwant stayed with extended family.
But the pandemic changed everything for Eee Nwant. Her school closed, and her parents lost their work opportunities in Thailand. They found a plot of land to grow the rice they needed for the year to come, and they asked Eee Nwant to work assisting them with farming.
She was devastated, but she didn’t want to let her parents down so she said ‘yes’ to working on the family’s land. Sadly, Eee Nwat’s family are not alone. Child labour tends to rise in proportion to poverty; according to a study from The World Bank, a 1 percentage point rise in poverty globally leads to at least a 0.7 percentage point increase in child labour.
At United World Schools, we’re working hard to support families and get every child back to school – and back to childhood. To help Eee Nwant continue her education, UWS reached out to her parents to let them know about a new, COVID-safe programme we’re running.
Whilst schools have not yet re-opened in Myanmar, our teachers are facilitating flexible distance education by running smaller school groups once a week. This allows us to teach new skills weekly, and give children educational projects to complete within the week before they return.
Eee Nwant misses going to school every day, but she’s happy to be attending once a week and continuing her education. The UN warns that 24 million children may never go back to school after lockdown ends, and the world’s poorest children are most at risk of dropping out of school.
Through interventions like this, we’re giving children like Eee Nwant a road back to education, back to childhood and back to a brighter future.