Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The lives of out of school children in one minute

By Jessica Aumann
©UNICEF Myanmar/2015/Jessica Aumann
Khin Sander Win is 12 years old. She sits patiently on the pink plastic bench, smiling and waiting for the interpreter to come and help her tell her story.

“When the cyclone came it took everything” she says. “We lost our house”.

“After the storm my mother and father moved from Ayeyarwaddy to Yangon, and we children all stayed behind with my grandfather. I used to talk to my mother on the phone and I would feel so sad to be apart from her, I would cry a lot” she says.

Khin Sander is telling her story as part of a workshop run by The One Minutes foundation (TOM), a youth arts initiative that teaches young people how to capture their stories in a 60 second video.

The children taking part in the video workshop are all studying through the Non-Formal Primary Education (NFPE) equivalency programme aimed at out-of school children. Many of the children attending NFPE have had to drop out of primary school to help with the family income or to care for younger siblings.

NFPE is supported by the Quality Basic Education Programme (QBEP), which aims to improve access to quality school readiness and primary level education nationally, with activities focused in core disadvantaged townships. QBEP is supported by the Multi Donor Education Fund (MDEF), comprising Australia, Denmark, the European Union, Norway and the United Kingdom, and by UNICEF in partnership with the Government of Myanmar.
©UNICEF Myanmar/2015/Jessica Aumann
NFPE classes run for 2.5 hours in the evening, 6 days a week. When the children complete NFPE Level 2 they are qualified as having graduated from upper primary school and can return to formal schooling.

“At first, when my parents moved to Halingtaryar they were staying in a very bad place.” Says Khin Sander. “My father couldn’t get a job. Then my mother got so sick and I had to leave school to take care of her. Because we had no money we had to sell everything we managed to save from the cyclone.”

“One day my mother had to sell her gold necklace. This is my story, the story of the magic necklace.”
Khin Sander is lucky; her story has a happy ending. Her father and her brother have found work as laborers and she has been able to join NFPE classes.

“I liked making the video, I liked acting the best”, she says. “I started to cry because I still miss my sister who is still living back in the village. I wish I could send her some pens and books to help her at school”.

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