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In mid-2013, CUFA’s Myanmar Teachers Project commenced with the mission to help students in poor communities in the Shan State of Myanmar get a quality education. CUFA’s Stephanie Brown shares a story of how the Teachers Project will change the lives of teachers and their students.
In a small community located in the Shan region of Myanmar, a teacher begins her lesson for the day. In a classroom consisting of students aged between 10 and 16 years old, she starts the day with a history lesson. The class, who are eager and interested in learning, listen attentively as they know they are lucky to be getting an education at all.
The Shan State, located in the eastern part of Myanmar is a poor region that has felt the effects of the 60 years of civil unrest following the nation’s independence in 1948. People in this village are largely rice farmers, and many grow other crops for subsistence use only.
Many in this village live on less than $2 a day and are largely dependent on the generosity of the community and their local Buddhist temple for support. There is very little opportunity for people in the region and the level of education is low due to its unaffordability.
Nang Nam Leng has been a teacher for eight years. She teaches in the local Buddhist temple in a make-shift school created by the Buddhist monks to help provide the children in the community that cannot afford to attend state run schools, with the opportunity to get an education.
“I am happy being a teacher and get great satisfaction from the job. It pays less but it is great to teach in my own community. I can see growth in my community and the children are very respectful and hardworking”, she says.
Despite loving her position, she struggles on her salary consisting of donations from her poor community. "There is a problem to do with salary; it is not enough for me and my family as well,” she says of the pay situation.
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