Myanmar Mobile Education (myME)
myME Provides education via mobile classrooms to children in Myanmar (Burma) who've been compelled into indentured servitude at teashop restaurants where they're forced to work long hours every day in order to sustain their families. The mobile classrooms provide these children an opportunity to learn basic literacy, math and computer skills in a safe environment where they can gain self-confidence and develop critical thinking skills through innovative, interactive instruction. This opportunity is desperately needed in a country where there are over 5 million children between the ages of 5 and 18 who are not in school.
2016 was hectic, challenging and yet productive year for the myME team here in Myanmar, but we managed to keep things moving forward and following are some of the highlights:
1) We managed to enroll over 3,400 students from various teashops, road-side restaurants, monastic schools and underprivileged communities from 8 major cities (Yangon, Mandalay, Kyauk-Se, MyinGyan, MawLaMying, Dala,
Hlaing-Thar-Yar, East Dagon) in Myanmar.
2) We managed to maintain overall 70% attendance rate, 80% assessment outcomes, and 90% completion rate throughout all the myME classes.
3) 14 young students from three of our Teashop-classes graduated our non-formal education Level II and for the very first time, they've started to attend vocational training (Sewing and Fashion Design).
4) We started to work on a new initiative called "myME Box" - online/offline interactive self-learning NFE/Vocational courses + eBooks + Educational Games + Up-to-date news and planning to develop 100 interactive self-learning online lesson plans (NFE/Vocational) in 2017 and enroll 1,500 users in pilot phase. Then, continue to develop additional 150 online courses and enroll 5,000 users in 2018, 250 new online courses and enroll 10,000 users in 2019, and etc.
We want to thank our donors . We continue to ask for your support because we are planning to provide substitute income to the families of the child workers during three month long vocational training during which we will help them find better job opportunities.. Students who completed Level II will be eligible for this vocational program .
Please also check out the following links for more info, videos, and photos:
The myME project was started by
Burmese human rights activist Tim Aye-Hardy along with a small group of people in NYC and in Myanmar (Burma) who passionately believe that true reform for Myanmar starts with education. We're a collective of human rights activists, educators, business people, academics, writers and artists.
We believe that every child in Myanmar has the right to access quality education. Education is a critical step toward alleviating poverty and the abuses associated with child labor.
Once a hopeful and prosperous country, Myanmar has been neglected and exploited by repressive military regimes for the past five decades. As a result, infrastructures have become broken, schools and hospitals are dysfunctional, and the vast majority of the population is uneducated and vulnerable. In many cases, it is the children, aged 7 to 17 years, who are the worst affected. Sadly, there are a growing number of people who take advantage of the children’s trust and vulnerability. Sometimes it's actually their parents and relatives, who, out of total desperation, “give” their children over to work as indentured servants.
Teashops are located all over Myanmar—they are small road- or alley-side restaurants where the local people come regularly for daily sweet tea and snacks. Many of them are “manned” by children who have been forced into servitude.
Once in this situation, the children must work for over 16 hours daily, 7 days per week. At night they sleep on the tables or on the floors of the shops. Their meager earnings are sent back to their families and villages in the countryside. In this system the children are sometimes abused by their employers/owners and customers, they are deprived of their childhoods, and they lack any basic educational skills, decent healthcare and adequate, nutritious food.
A unique education and outreach program provides school and assistance to the teashop children via used buses that have been gutted and converted to mobile classrooms. Because these teashops are concentrated in cities and towns, the classroom stops are planned to maximize participation of many children in one area. Each child spends a minimum of two hours per day on the bus, and the teashop owners are compensated for the children’s time away from work. Each classroom is equipped with books, desks, chairs and all necessary school supplies. The children are served a nutritious meal at each session. Staff includes a coordinator/counselor (mentor), a full-time teacher, and a driver.
• Provide a safe environment to learn
• Obtain basic educational skills
• Gain basic computer skills
• Develop self-esteem and self-confidence
• Create friendships among peers
• Escape appalling working conditions
• Gain knowledge of accessing the country’s educational system
• Explore alternative future opportunities
• Improve wellbeing and quality of life