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Mar 1, 2018

Freedom to Education: Meipaw's Story

Meipaw - FEP medical student
Meipaw - FEP medical student

Meipaw is one of 47 young Burmese men and women currently completing higher education thanks to Health and Hope's Freedom to Education (FEP) programme. He is 22 years old and comes from Chin State, Burma (Myanmar).

Growing up, Meipaw and his friends faced many challenges in their attempts to access education, including natural disasters; food insecurity; teaching in non-ethnic languages and a lack of qualified teachers.

These challenges, combined with the highest levels of household poverty (73%) in Burma, mean that, by the age of eleven, 18% of Chin children have already dropped out of school and, even among those who stay on, only 8% manage to pass their grade 10 exams in rural areas, where poverty is greatest. 

Despite these difficulties, Meipaw was determined to train as a doctor, spurred on by the lack of medical care and facilities in his community that had led to the unnecessary death of his grandmother from easily treatable diarrhoea.

Meipaw worked hard at school and passed his grade 10 exams, but unfortunately his parents just weren't able to afford to send him to college. On average, a family in Chin State can only afford $40 per month to support their children through education, however it costs $250 per month to study at university and $500 per month in medical college, pushing university education out of reach for most rural families.

Fortunately for Meipaw, Health & Hope were able to help. Our Freedom to Education Project (FEP)  provided financial and peer support for Meipaw.  After completing an internship he was able to attend college in India and, following the successful completion of his grade 12 exams, was able to secure a scholarship with Prospect Burma to study medicine in China. 

On his first visit back home in four years, Meipaw sat down with us to tell his story. The interview is shown here on YouTube.

The impact of our education project is much wider than the individual stories of our students. Health and Hope believes that education is crucial in building long-term sustainable development in Myanmar, raising levels of social awareness, critical thinking and preparing future leaders to be catalysts of a fair and equitable society. 

Our first four FEP graduates returned home in 2017 and many more will follow over the coming years. Their desire is to use what they have learnt to support the next generation of young people in their home communities. 

We are harnessing this passion to launch a new education project in 2018. Later this year, our returning graduates will provide teaching and mentoring to younger students in Chin State and will also begin the task of translating textbooks into local languages, making it possible for young people to read and learn the necessary material to pass their own exams.

Since we launched our FEP programme, we have offered 85 students the opportunity to pursue higher education.  Through our new project we hope to provide many more with the gift of education, preparing them to take an active part in the social and economic transformation of their home communities.

Meipaw is grateful for your support, and so are the many other students that we are partnering with through your support to this project.

Thank you

2017 FEP Graduates returning home
2017 FEP Graduates returning home

Links:

Mar 1, 2018

Transforming Maternal & Child Health: Next Steps

Some of our amazing Traditional Birth Attendants
Some of our amazing Traditional Birth Attendants

Thanks to your generous support we are just a month away from running our first ‘Train the Trainer’ workshop for Traditional Birth Attendants.

The workshop is part of a new pilot project, expanding our maternal and child health programme by equipping our most experienced indigenous health workers with the skills to proactively pass on their midwifery knowledge to new TBAs. The new indigenous trainers will also be taught how to support and monitor the work of our growing team of TBAs, allowing us to record our impact in a more effective way.

Over time this project will reduce the dependency on international trainers to run workshops and improve sustainability and community ownership. It will also provide evidence of the impact of the TBAs which can be used to improve the initiative going forward.

At the first workshop in March 2018, we will be training seven of our most experienced TBAs. The workshop will be run by three UK midwives, two of whom have made six prior trips to the region, in addition to running a successful training project in Mongolia.

Following the workshop in March the newly trained TBA Trainers will each teach a bespoke curriculum to seven new TBAs from local villages. 

In November, the UK midwives will return to Chin State, meeting with the original seven trainers to receive feedback on their experiences and to evaluate the progress of the pilot. The UK midwives also aim to:

  • run hands-on training for the new TBAs
  • assess the extent of their knowledge through practical and theoretical assessments
  • provide additional advanced practical training 

We are so grateful to you for partnering with us to bring health and hope to mothers and babies in western Myanmar. 

Do look out for photographs and stories of the training shortly after Easter!

UK midwife teaching essential midwifery skills
UK midwife teaching essential midwifery skills
TBAs learning to stitch wounds
TBAs learning to stitch wounds
TBAs receiving UNFPA dignity kits
TBAs receiving UNFPA dignity kits
Feb 23, 2018

Training Centre Rebuilding: March 2018 Update

The training centre starting to take shape
The training centre starting to take shape

We are delighted to report that over the past four months significant progress has been made on the building of the new training centre in Lailenpi, western Myanmar.

The dry season which started in November has allowed the local community to push forward with preparing the building site, digging deep foundations and erecting the first reinforced concrete columns.  

Thanks to technical support from a field-engineer from eMI-World, they have also been learning new building techniques to ensure the training centre can withstand future earthquakes and extreme weather conditions.

The new building will have many advantages, not only providing a space to deliver large scale training, but also smaller classrooms from which to launch new education and food security projects.

The training hall and classrooms also meet the need for a flexible accommodation space, enabling us to host visiting health workers, traditional birth attendants, students and farmers during training sessions.

We are so grateful for the commitment and dedication of the local community, and for your generosity in providing the funding for this essential project.  

We have now raised more than 85% of the budget for construction of the main building and are now looking to raise a further £29,000 ($40,500) by the end of March 2018. The additional funds will ensure that all of the building materials can be purchased and transported prior to the beginning of the monsoon season in May, when the roads to Lailenpi become impassable.  The funding will also enable further visits from the field-engineer to help develop the skills of the local community and ensure due diligence takes place during construction.

Once the construction work is complete we'll then be kitting out the training centre with furnishings and equipping the classroms and library ready for use.  

Thank you so much for your ongoing support,

Michelle

Digging deep with the help of the local community
Digging deep with the help of the local community
eMI-World Field Engineer in action
eMI-World Field Engineer in action
The community working hard together
The community working hard together
Formwork and shuttering completed by hand
Formwork and shuttering completed by hand
Preparing the foundations
Preparing the foundations
Tying together the reinforcement
Tying together the reinforcement
The first column in place
The first column in place
The Training Centre so far
The Training Centre so far

Links:

 
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