Here in the United States, ask a girl what she wants to be when she grows up and her answer may be nurse, teacher, astronaut, senator or even president. The possibilities are limitless. In Myanmar, a country steeped in extreme poverty, where people lack even the most basic human rights, you will hear no such answer. Girls in Myanmar typically imagine a job that takes them no further than the family farm or the local fish market.
Why the disparity?
In addition to the oppressive government, ongoing conflicts, natural disasters and displacement that have plagued the country, education is simply not attainable for many – most of all girls.
Only half of Burmese girls complete primary education. For most, the quality of the education is inadequate and typically based on rote memorization. One in every four girls who has attended primary school is still unable to read simple sentences about everyday life.
Although government schools are free, parents still need to pay for uniforms, supplies, and in some cases bribes to teachers to ensure their children receive attention.
When parents choose which child they can afford to educate, it is always the boys. Girls, victims of gender disparity, are pulled out of school to work.
Girls who are educated dream big. Education opens up endless opportunities. Education builds girls’ dreams and transforms lives.
Educational Empowerment helps ensure Burmese girls realize their dreams.
Some girls, unable to afford government schools, attend schools established in Buddhist monasteries – schools which truly are free. Many girls in these schools have been sent by their families from remote ethnic areas to be educated and safe. These girls, often as young as 4, must cope with the trauma of family separation.
One of these schools, located in a poor township outside Yangon, is Maw Kyun, attended by 582 children, half of whom are girls. These girls are learning critical thinking skills, which give them the ability to identify and solve problems. Since their township does not have electricity or fresh water, solving problems is essential to their existence.
Wint Yi, like 25% of other girls in Myanmar, lives below the poverty line, with a family income of less than $1.25 per day. Fifty percent of her peers will only go to school through the fifth grade.
Unlike, many other girls, Wint Yi has a dream. She knows there is a world beyond her village. She goes to a school supported by Educational Empowerment. Wint Yi is one of the fortunate girls in Myanmar.
Girls’ access to quality education should be a basic human right. Investing in girls’ education bolsters their dignity, saves mother’s and children’s lives, and improves the socio-economic status of the entire community.
Help girls attain their right to education. Empower others, like Wint Yi, to dream BIG.
Want to take action?
- Donate to Educational Empowerment
- Organize an event for International Day of the Girl, October 11th, to create awareness for girls’ right to education
- Let your voices be heard for girls worldwide!
Meet Wint Yi
Please visit us at www.educationalempowerment.org
Educational Empowerment (EE) was created by women for women and girls. EE promotes literacy and education for children, families and communities in Myanmar severely affected by poverty and injustice. By empowering women and girls through education, we position women Myanmar to attain their equal rights.