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Vox Pop: IDP parents share schooling struggles
DMG interviewed the parents of students from various IDP camps in Arakan State to learn more about their challenges, and how they are endeavouring to overcome them.
01 Sep 2023
1 September 2023, Sittwe
Many people in Arakan State who were affected by Cyclone Mocha are suffering badly from the impacts of skyrocketing commodity prices. At a time when even ordinary folk are struggling to stand on their own two feet, those living in poverty in camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) are particularly beset by challenges.
And while food and shelter understandably garner more attention for the immediacy of those needs, access to education can be an equally difficult thing to secure for IDPs, especially in times of acute financial distress. DMG interviewed the parents of students from various IDP camps in Arakan State to learn more about their challenges, and how they are endeavouring to overcome them.
U Oo Saw Thein || Railway Station IDP camp || Kyauktaw Township
One of my sons is going to attend one month of class soon. I don’t know how to borrow money from others. I make a living by working as a mason and collecting bamboo shoots. I go to the forests to collect vegetables and bamboo shoots to earn money.
No organisation supports my children’s education. My son’s education will cost more than last year. I want my children to be educated, so I am starving to be able to send him to university.
Daw Hla Aye Soe || Myatanzaung IDP camp || Mrauk-U Township
Nowadays, sending a high school student to school is more of a dilemma for parents. As the prices of goods rise and aid is minimal, the education of IDP children is more difficult. Anyway, even if I don’t get an education, I want my children to get an education.
My husband earns a living as a motorbike taxi driver. We have a Grade 11 student. We have borrowed money from others because business is not good for my husband. We are proud to be able to send our children to school during this difficult time.
Daw Oo Mya Yi || Myolechaung IDP camp || Rathedaung town
I send my three children, ranging from Grade 4 to Grade 11, to school. I have to spend a lot to send my three children to school. We also pay extra money for a Grade 11 student for tuition, but we cannot send two children to tuition classes. As a parent, I am saddened by this. For a widow like me, it was quite a struggle to send my children to school.
My children’s education is important to me, so I try to make them educated. Prices are going up, so if I can’t provide them with the clothes, books, and accessories they need, I’d be upset. As an IDP, it is very difficult to send my children to school.
Daw Ma Aye Yin || Tin Nyo IDP camp || Mrauk-U Township
During these difficult times, I sacrifice to send my children to school. I make a living by collecting vegetables and bamboo shoots in the jungle and growing paddy plants, in order to send my children to school. I am struggling to do my job so that my children can go to school with a full stomach, be clothed properly, have books and pens, and have their school fees paid regularly.
U Kyaw Sein Tun || Myolaechaung IDP camp || Rathedaung Township
I send four children to school, but I can’t afford to pay tuition fees for them. Tuition fees also increase with the increase in commodity prices. My children can’t be disconnected from their education. No matter how difficult it is, we have decided not to take our children out of school.
We are trying to provide our children with enough food to eat every day, school uniforms, and books and pencils. I make a living as an odd-job worker to send my children to school and tuition classes. As an IDP, sending my children to school is a real challenge.