Sidewalk Classroom Offers Tuition for Burma

Every evening this stretch of pavement is crammed full of children.


Senin, 17 Feb 2014 15:08 WIB



Sidewalk Classroom Offers Tuition for Burma

Burma, street children, school, education, DVB

For the many thousands of poor and homeless children in Burma, education is a distant dream.

They must work survive, and because they can’t afford to go to school many are stuck in a life of poverty.

But one man in Mandalay is trying to change that.

He’s set up a night school for homeless and poor children – and the classes are held on a pavement next to the railway station.

Every evening this stretch of pavement is crammed full of children.

Their exercise books and bags are scattered over the floor of this makeshift classroom.

For forty of Mandalay’s poorest street kids, it’s their only chance to get an education.

Sein Win set up the Platform Classroom five years ago next to the railway station.

Many of the children are homeless and shelter at the station.

“Most of their parents do menial jobs such as porters, cart drivers and janitors. Many others are single parents – usually mothers.”

Sein Win desperately wants to move the classroom into an apartment, as he says the biggest challenge is the weather.

“I think it would be impossible to rent a place because apartment rental fees around here are between 500 and 800 US dollars per month and we don’t have that budget. Also, if it rains we need to stop the classes and take shelter. If it keeps raining, we must send the kids home and call a substitute class later.”

There are seven teachers who work here as volunteers.

The classes depend on donations – for school entrance fees for older students, and learning materials for the younger ones.

“I am happy to be able to use my knowledge to help the children.”

The children don’t care that it’s on the pavement – for them, an education is a way out of poverty.

Maung Maung San is now in 10th grade.

He says he’s aiming to gain distinction in English and Economics... and that the only challenge he faces is rain.

Many of the students have faced hardships in their lives and rely on the Platform Classroom.

It’s run at night so the students can still earn money during the day.

“My father passed away and my mother survives doing odd jobs. My brother runs a motorbike taxi and my sister works at a store.”

Media attention in the past few months has also attracted some donors.

“I read about this class in a news journal and wanted to make a contribution. The classes were closed during the SEA Games, so I just offered something now.”

Every year more and more kids come to learn at the Platform Classroom.

Sein Win hopes that soon they will be able to afford to rent a flat – so they can continue teaching, even when it rains.


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