I was born in a beautiful city – Hong Kong. It is a happy and fruitful city. Children here can enjoy 9 years’ free education provided by the government. Parents would like to give the best to their children, especially the best learning at schools. Children can also have extracurricular activities like learning piano, ballet, painting, foreign languages, etc. They are so lucky, but this does not happen in different parts of the world, like Myanmar.
It is my honour to be selected as an IWitness Global Citizen to join the Soft Toys for Education campaign. Together with my lucky co-workers from IKEA Hong Kong, we are going on an IWitness trip with Save the Children Hong Kong to Myanmar to witness how the IKEA Foundation is supporting a better everyday life for the children there.
The first day of our Myanmar trip, we visited Save the Children Myanmar ‘s Head Office. After the simple introduction by Save the Children, we interviewed three groups at the community learning centre in Ward 20, located in Hlaingthayar. They are:
- Children ‘s Groups for 12-17 year-olds. These are mixed group swith children who are in school, out of school, or working, as well as children who have survived being trafficked. They introduce children’s rights to kids and parents and also share their own stories.
- Former child soldiers – 15-24 years old. They are brave enough to stand up to share their experiences after escaping from the army. They use their own stories to influence others.
- Child protection groups – Voluntary members, they are usually made up of community leaders, authorities, teachers, women’s affairs associations and parents.
On the first day’s afternoon, we met with one of the community-based organisations. They are formed with members of the children’s protection group. They are trained to address to child-protection issues happening at the township level and above.
The second day of our Myanmar trip, we interviewed more children’s groups and child protection groups in Shwepyithar.
They are enthusiastic to share their stories and cases with us. Furthermore, they are raising money to become self-sustaining after the funding might stop.
I was really impressed by those kids and teenagers in the children’s group, and also the volunteers in the child protection groups in Myanmar. They are optimistic and self confident with great missions. Their thinking is always positive.
Time flies like an arrow! Today is our last day in Myanmar! We have a sharing session in Save the Children Myanmar’s Head Office. Both Save the Children and the IKEA Foundation shared with us more about the status and condition of Myanmar children and their rights. We do hope that the children will have a bright future in Myanmar with help from Save the Children and the IKEA Foundation.
Last but definitely not least, I would like to thank Kelly, Thanda, Yin Yin, and their members in Myanmar from Save the Children, Queenie from Save the Children Hong Kong Office, Shanti Mahabier-Kalicharan from the IKEA Foundation, Janet Lai and Flora Chan from IKEA Hong Kong. They have arranged an unforgettable and meaningful trip for us. I have treasured a lot from this trip!