Helping the Chins in Myanmar
The zone of Myanmar is mountainous and access is extremely difficult, even impossible during the rainy season. The area stayed for over 40 years a « black zone », forbidden to tourists. In 2014, Children of the Mekong overseas volunteers were able to access this zone that was cut off from the rest of the world, and they found an area deeply affected by poverty. A flagrant lack of hygiene, very big families (often over 10 children per family), malnourished and education that was almost inexistent.
Since the region reopened, roads and means of communication with the rest of the country were developed. But the population still lives a primitive and tribal lifestyle, traditions are being strongly upheld. The Chin population is divided into many ethnic groups and each village has their own language even when divided by only a few kilometres. 53 dialects were counted in a territory with a size similar to Wales!
These regions were isolated from the world for such a long time and now is going through an incredibly quick development which is creating surprising technological gaps. Mobile phones and cell reception are available before running water, chemical Chinese food industry products are being served with vegetables from the garden and eggs from the family hens, fashion in the village consists of feathers headdresses and an Adidas jacket…
Going to Kuinglawng – an isolated village.
Travelling to Kuinglawng, which is a village supported by our charity has proven to be a real difficulty, like many villages in this area. Departing from Bagan, which is a very touristic city, easy to access, you have to take a bus for 8 hours (180 km) which brings you to Mindat. This bus journey has only been achievable since 2015 when a bridge was built. Then begins the journey: a day of travel on a motorcycle to reach the village of M’Kuiimnu followed by two hours by foot where you arrive at your final destination: Kuinglawng.
THE BIG CHALLENGES
Our charity has put together an action plan for several years to respond to the area’s multiple challenges. Everything needs to be done, everything needs to be built.
We have been funding many construction projects since 2015: schools, boarding schools and homes but also sanitary blocs and solar panels.
The boarding houses are already home to several dozen children. All come from remote villages and see these houses as an opportunity to go to school and to lift their families out of the cycle of poverty.
These boarding houses welcome all children, even those who are unable to pay, which is the case for most children. Often priests or nuns are in charge and respond to these calls of help, oftentimes using their own small funding to feed these children.
HOW DOES A BOARDING HOUSE FUNCTION?
The state of these boarding houses varies from one village to the next. Imagine a house made of wood and sheet metal. All try to have electricity so that the children can study at night.
The solar panels help to respond to this need but are limited during the rainy season.
The girls’ and boys’ dormitories are very basic, the children sleep on the floor or on mats often without mosquito nets. When there are toilets they are made of wood and sheet metal.
There are often no bathrooms, sometimes a water tank which is used to wash up and clean clothes, which means there is bad personal hygiene.
Extra classes taught by a qualified teacher represent a big challenge. To attenuate the effects of the absence of class in school (government teachers often being absent or ineffective), extra night classes and night studying is unavoidable. Those who have extra knowledge teach others often for free. Poor families are often unable to pay the costs of boarding houses. These boarding houses also take in children that were abandoned or orphans. The income of these boarding houses are very slim, they come from the church and individual donors that come from the same background but often also have small incomes. Here, Children of the Mekong appears as a providential help.
Sponsorship allows the education of these youths. But it also helps first and foremost to feed them, clothe them and put a roof over their heads. Even if the ultimate goals are to develop the families and the area, sponsorship is currently a means of survival for these families.
Sponsor a child in the Chin mountains!
Many children are still waiting to be able to study. To allow them to keep up with the costs and improve the living conditions of these families, sponsor a one of them!
For 28 € per month, your sponsorship will give the chance to your sponsored child to go to school.