Thank you for your ongoing support of our Freedom to Education programme. The situation in Myanmar continues to be very fragile since the military coup took place on the 1st February 2021. Hundreds of civilians have been killed, and thousands arrested. Daily life continues to be very challenging, with increasing costs of food and supplies, difficulty accessing health care and an overall suppression of human rights and freedoms.
The current situation, compounded by the impact of Covid-19 restrictions, has massively impacted the younger generation. Many have been encouraged to join local armed groups to fight against the military, and there have been many anti-coup protests, often ending violently.
Thankfully, Health & Hope’s staff are safe, but in hiding, with many having fled the country. As a result of all that has taken place, the operational environment for our work has changed significantly, and so we have had to make the difficult decision to put some of our previous work on hold.
However, there is a massive need to support students in Myanmar whose education has been so badly disrupted over the last two years. We are delighted to say despite the challenges of both Covid and coup that our Freedom to Education Project has been able to continue. We have managed to secure places for 20 new students in India who have commenced their studies in October 2021. This is in addition to seven students who are already studying in India and China. The grants from our generous supporters enables our students to be provided with accommodation, tuition fees, living expenses and pastoral support.
I am also delighted to report that we have a further seven students graduating in 2021, in subjects ranging from engineering, English, accounting and medical imaging. I am sure you will join me in congratulating them after all their hard work.
We are so grateful for your continued partnership which is enabling us to provide this much-needed support. Due to the security risk to our staff and those we work with, we are unable to publicly share details or photos at present about the students, but we will ensure we keep you updated as and when we are able to. If you would like to find out more then please get in touch via our website. We'd love to hear from you!
Thank you again for your generous support.
As you are aware, since the military coup took place on the 1st February, the people of Myanmar have faced a horrific and violent crackdown on human rights. Over 900 civilians have been killed and thousands arrested. Over 230,000 are reported to be internally displaced and 35,000+ have sought refuge in other countries, with many being turned back at the borders. Daily life for those inside the country has become increasingly difficult with food shortages and a collapse of banking services.
Thankfully, Health & Hope’s staff are safe, but in hiding, with some having to flee the country. As a result of all that’s happened, the operational environment for our work has changed significantly and so we have had to make the difficult decision to put some of our previous work on hold.
The Freedom to Education Project (FEP) however, has been able to continue supporting students in countries such as India and China. Indeed, it has become more critical than ever with students from Myanmar losing all access to education services for the second year in a row following the Covid-19 pandemic.
To this end, we are expanding the FEP to provide support to an additional 20 students who passed their Grade 10 exams as part of our Education for All project. These students will be provided with full scholarships for accommodation, tuition and living expenses to enable them to study and received pastoral support overseas.
We are so grateful for your continued partnership which provides much-needed funds to impoverished students and families from Chin State.
Unfortunately, due to the security risk to our staff and those we work with, we are unable to publicly share further details about the students and where they will be studying, however we will ensure we keep you updated as and when we are able to.
Thank you again for your generous support.
We are so grateful for your continued support and commitment towards our work.
The impact of COVID-19 is being felt worldwide, and many of our FEP students face an uncertain time as their universities and colleges have temporarily closed. We hope that they will still be able to sit their exams if the restrictions are lifted in time. In the meantime, we are ensuring that they are being supported through this challenging time with pastoral care, financial support, and continued educational support and advice for their future studies and careers.
YinYin is one of our students who is in her final year of studying a BSc in Medical Imaging Technology in India. She is about to start an internship in Yangon, Myanmar and has written a short update on her time at university and what she hopes to do in the future.
“Before I became a part of FEP, I completed my higher secondary in my home town in Chin state, Myanmar, where there was no internet, libraries or schools teaching English. After I passed my Year 10 exams, I was selected to continue my studies as part of the Freedom to Education Project (FEP). Health & Hope supported me with accommodation, food and finances so I never had to worry. But, I still faced lots difficulty in the lessons and language. Everything was in English, which I didn’t understand very well. Thanks to the support and encouragement I received from the Health & Hope staff and other students, I passed my class 11 and 12.
When the time came, I was able to study my Bachelor’s Degree with the support of Dr. Sasa and Health & Hope. My life has been totally changed because I improved a lot in my studies, and also have grown spiritually - as well as in my English and communication skills!
We have classes for three days a week at university. We used to participate in class activities and give class presentations, which I never did before. But taking part has helped me to improve my English and confidence. We also have a medical posting for three days a week in MRI, CT scan, and X-ray at Bethany Hospital. In hospital we do patient preparation for imaging procedures, learning how to position the patient and operate the equipment. During this experience I have come to realise how all medical professions are connected and how important each one is for making the right diagnosis, and giving the right treatment to the patient.
As my studies continued, the lessons became harder, alongside increasing hours at the hospital. It is getting more and more challenging, but I am very happy to say that I have continued to progress in my studies. Not having to worry financially is such a great relief and allows me to concentrate on my studies, and I know this is because of your support.
I am going to do a one-year internship in Myanmar from this coming July. I am very much looking forward to this as I have heard many amazing stories from my senior FEP students about how much knowledge, experience and practical skill they have gained from their internships.
I am thrilled to be studying this course - I feel my life is more meaningful from being part of the medical imaging team, and being able to help others through my work. Thank you so much for supporting me; I am so grateful to be an FEP student!”
YinYin is the third generation of nurses returning from the FEP to Myanmar. Over the last year, three graduate nurses have been working full-time as part of our staff team, delivering community and maternal healthcare services across our projects. In addition, a further four undergraduate nurses have been serving in a volunteer capacity while gaining crucial experience at Hope Clinic, along with supporting our maternal health projects and working with our partner, Medical Action Myanmar. Below are some photos of these nurses delivering training to local healthcare workers and critical care in the community.
We have recently updated our website with the latest news on our response to the COVID-19 crisis. As we work with the team in Myanmar to develop our plans in response to the current situation, we will endeavour to update you further on this. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this or any of our other projects, please feel free to email me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again for your continued support and partnership. Your giving is making a wonderful difference to our students’ lives who are, in turn, using their skills and qualifications to bring life-saving healthcare to their communities.
It all started seven years ago. A dream to see young women from rural Chin State have the opportunity to train as nurses and then come back to serve their community. Thanks to the financial commitment of long-term supporters, this dream has become a reality.
In the summer of 2019, three young women who have been supported by the Freedom to Education project graduated from university after completing their nursing degrees. Their training included:
- a one year internship with Health & Hope
- completing their year 11-12 secondary education in India
- an undergraduate degree in India
- a year internship in hospitals in Yangon
Following their graduation ceremony the nurses received a week's training from our partner Birthlink, took part in supervised outreach work in rural villages and received two months of training in maternal health and emergency neonatal care.
The nurses will now support the delivery of the Maternal and Neonatal programme, in addition to working in Hope Clinic and responding to emergencies through a newly established mobile medical service for remote villages.
Last month, two volunteer midwives travelled from the UK to run training workshops and mother & baby clinics in Lailenpi. The midwives wrote this summary about the nurses in their trip report:
"One extremely valuable outcome of working with the Nurse Team throughout the week was their own development in midwifery knowledge. By working continuously alongside us in the clinics and during training, their knowledge increased substantially. On several occasions the nurses reported how their knowledge of antenatal, intrapartum and post-natal care had increased by hearing it from us in English, translating it into Mara, facilitating the questions and explanations and practising enthusiastically alongside all the trainees. Confidence and language skills increased and they thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the training. They became competent in all the skills and fostered a positive, interactive learning environment. They grew in confidence in their organisational and teamworking skills throughout the time. When a problem arose, they were quick to admit it and efficient in finding solutions. They were very committed to the smooth running of the course and worked long hours to achieve this. We felt that positive and lasting relationships were built between us all and that very good teamworking was achieved."
It's wonderful to see the real impact that has resulted from the Freedom to Education project in just a few months after graduation, with the nurses full of hope, passion and knowledge returning home to serve in their communities.
Your support is not only changing the lives of the individual students, but also having a wider-reaching impact on local communities through providing the skills and expertise needed to reach out and sustain our work amongst the most vulnerable in western Myanmar.
Mis Ramthangi is a recent graduate who has benefitted from the support of Health and Hope's Feedom to Education Programme. This is her story...
"My parents had six children, three girls and three boys. We lived in a very small village called Pasaitlah, which is near Lailenpi, in Chin state of Burma. I studied in my village from class 1 to class 8. As there is no high school in my village I had to take my class 9 and 10 in Lailenpi. As we are poor family and my parents cannot send me to a good school, I failed my class 10 in the first year. I was so hopeless when I failed. On top of that I got health problem.
As my health was not good, I could not continue my studies and I dropped out for one year. However, I dearly wanted to continue my school again but that year we faced lots of financial problem, and I had to carry food from my village weekly by foot which is 8-9 hours journey. My parents did have not enough money that year for tuition fees, or for the problem I had with my eyes. It was impossible to get a medical checkup. Later on my eye sight became worse and I could not even see the blackboard.
After struggling for a further three years I was able to pass my class 10. One side is full of happiness and another side sadness followed me because there was no money to continue to study, and as all the universities are located in the city, it takes one week to reach there and lots of money is needed for travel.
The time when I and all my family were hopeless, I heard a very good news from Dr Sasa that he wanted to help those who passed class 10 to take further study in India. I came for an interview and I was selected to be a student of Freedom to Education Project (FEP) run by Health and Hope Myanmar. All of the selected students signed and promised to come back to our country and work for our people. I have a very strong desire to work for my people and with the help of Dr Sasa I continued studying in college in India.
After this, I was able to get a job working in a government hospital as a technician in Chin state. Without Health and Hope this would not have been possible. It is only because of the hard work and the effort of my parents and Health and Hope, that my life is beautiful and I am so proud of who I am today."
Thank you so much for your support of this project - it really is making such a difference!
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