Thabyay Education Network

Thabyay Education Network's mission is to educate, develop, inspire, connect, and empower individuals and organizations who are change-makers in Southeast Asia, with a primary focus on Myanmar. We seek to achieve this through knowledge creation, innovative learning, guided skills expansion and by forging connections to networks, information and opportunities. We are inspired to create far-reaching transformations for the people of Myanmar.
Sep 4, 2012

A great start to BVP's first fundraising campaign!

BVP volunteer Alexa with her students!
BVP volunteer Alexa with her students!

To all our supporters,

We at BVP would like to extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to everyone who has supported our first fundraising initiative ‘Support the Burma Volunteer Program’ campaign on Global Giving. Since June, the project has raised an impressive US$2,579 bringing us closer to our eventual goal of US$20,000.

Thanks to your contributions, we can continue to support our local partner organizations in their crucial work in the fields of health care, education, community development, democratization, human rights, women's empowerment and poverty alleviation.  Since June, we have welcomed 7 new volunteers and now have a total of 20 volunteers working with partner organizations in the Thailand-Burma border regions of Sangkhlaburi, Mae Sot, Mae Hong Son, Mae Sariang as well as 3 refugee camps.

15 of our volunteers are involved in developing curriculum and teaching subjects ranging from English language to social sciences. These volunteers roughly work 25 hours per week, teaching on average 10 students or staff members from their placement organization. 3 of our volunteers work in refugee camps, teaching between 30 to over 100 students per day.  The remaining 5 of our volunteers are working on average 25 - 30 hours per week in non-teaching placements conducting research, human rights documentation, report writing and producing funding proposals. This important work carried out by our volunteers enables young people to gain access to higher education opportunities and empowers them to become leaders and change makers in their communities.

BVP is expecting 19 more volunteers over September and October. We are also celebrating our longest serving BVP volunteer to date. Lenka has now been working tirelessly at her organization for almost 2 years!

Here is a quote from Stephanie, one of our volunteers in Sangkhlaburi: 

“I am so proud of my students for all they have accomplished.  I am amazed by how much I have learned through this experience and I am sad to be leaving what I've grown to know as my family and home for the past three months.  I am already making plans to return and continue this important work with people from Burma on the Thailand-Burma border."

BVP would like to thank you once again for your kind support and we encourage you to spread the word about our program and fundraising intiative. On October 17th, Global Giving will be holding another Bonus Day. On this day, Global Giving will match donations to our project by 50% (up to a specified limit)! 

We will continue to keep you updated on our progress. 

Yours sincerely, 

Vanessa

Program Manager, Burma Volunteer Program

Links:

Jun 4, 2012

Postcard: Project Site Visit

w/ Scholarship Recipients and Thabyay @ university
w/ Scholarship Recipients and Thabyay @ university

Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Thailand:

Imagine living in a country where it was virtually impossible to access high quality, affordable education. Imagine that 30-50% of the population of this country lived in extreme poverty, and that education was a key factor in bringing desperately needed development to marginalized communities. This is the situation in Burma today.

Thabyay Education Network (TEN) works to solve this issue by providing access to higher education and professional development opportunities to people from marginalized communities who can make a difference. On May 8, 2012, I met with TEN’s staff, and learned about its programs. The staff I met all took time to show me the process, explain to me all of the background and steps, shared why they joined TEN, and the challenges they have faced along the way.

Michael, who runs TEN’s ‘low cost, high impact’ self-study university preparation program, explained to me how this program helps community development workers in Burma access international university education. “These individuals want to improve their skills so they can increase the impact of their work, but access to decent education is a major obstacle. They lack the necessary qualifications, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), to be eligible for international universities outside Burma. However, to get these qualifications, they usually have to attend expensive private classes, which they cannot afford.” Michael continues, “When they enroll with us they get full support to self-study in their own time so that they can obtain the university qualifications they need." 

 “This program is just one piece of the jigsaw of services that we provide”, explained the Development Director, Quentin Hewitt. “Many of the individuals who successfully gain the necessary university entrance qualifications with us go on to receive a university scholarship administered by us. We also support the development of communities in Burma through providing curriculum development and teacher training, organizing professional internships for community workers, running schools and placing skilled volunteers with community-based organizations. Through our efforts, we would like to create a generation of motivated individuals with the knowledge, skills and networks to make a profound and positive impact on their country.”

After, I was able to meet two scholarship recipients of TEN. To learn more visitJacquelineInTheFieldBlog.

Links:

Jun 4, 2012

Postcard: Project Site Visit

w/ Scholarship Recipients and Thabyay @ university
w/ Scholarship Recipients and Thabyay @ university

Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Thailand:

On May 8, 2012, I met with TENs staff, learned about its programs, and joined two scholarship recipients in a tour of their university in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Walking in to the main office, I saw stacks and stacks of papers all organized and with little colored post-its on each. “These are some of the applications for scholarships this year,” Quentin Hewitt, TEN’s Development Director, explained. I was extremely impressed with the care and detail that went into the application processes, records kept, and all around running of the organization – the futures of these potential scholars lie in their hands.

After visiting the office and learning about TEN’s projects, I was off to meet two Burmese scholarship recipients who now attend Chiang Mai University. Kaythi and Naing Lin (names changed for security reasons) are both enrolled in CMU’s new Social Science program which includes courses on environment, sociology, statistics, and economics.  What did they like about their program? The fact that CMU offers a great social science curriculum, unavailable in Burma, challenges the way they think, and generates learning through class discussion. Such experiences are virtually unknown in universities in Burma where analytical thinking is discouraged and an overriding emphasis is placed on rote learning outdated and often irrelevant texts.

Kaythi previously worked as a volunteer with an international organization working with the elderly in Burma. Naing Lin was a teacher and a volunteer. Why did they volunteer? Because they “want to help people and want to be life trainers”, said Kaythi.  Education is extremely important and they wanted to spread awareness about it - “we are the pioneers”, Naing Lin said.  Although she had a good job, Kaythi decided to apply for a scholarship because she felt that she could work more effectively if she was better educated . Her parents are small-scale farmers who had no opportunity to attend formal education. Although they need the help of every family member to obtain enough food from their land, her parents encouraged her to take this opportunity. “Don’t come back to the fields. Continue to study,” they said.  Naing Lin explained that learning English is “a great tool to attain knowledge and then share it.” He wanted to promote awareness about education to his Shan community – “if I don’t have anything to share with them, what’s the purpose of learning?”

Afterwards, we all went to the Chiang Mai University campus to meet the scholars’ Director and Coordinator of the Social Science program, accompanied by TEN’s Development Officer, Tom. The Director explained that the goal of the program was to prepare the students in multidisciplinary studies, but a big challenge was the certification of Burma’s education systems – which often is not internationally recognized. Through the international school at Chiang Mai University, the Director stressed the importance of extracurricular activities to promote integration among the students from Burma. Kaythi and Naing Lin both spoke passionately about their university life and the difference it will make in their future endeavors. 

To read more about my experience go to: JacquelineInTheFieldBlog.

Links:

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