Ensuring Safety for Children in Kayin State

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Naing Paw, 32, is a mother of four and a parent education facilitator in Kayin State, Myanmar.

"My husband and I work as casual labourers for other people on farms and for whatever other work there is to be done.” she explained when asked about her activities outside of being a parent education facilitator.

As a parent education facilitator, Naing Paw attends monthly group sessions where they share child protection issues they see in the village, and finds solutions for them. The group also shares best practices on raising children and encourages other mothers to adopt them.

“I have no specific responsibility in the parent group. We share child protection issues for greater child development, such as how to care for children. We share our challenges and some good practices at home with the others in the group. I would talk about my children in these discussions. We talk about the importance of safety around water sources, child development, hygiene and how to teach children. This is some of the knowledge that I learnt from my daily life that I want to share with my fellow villagers.” she added.

According to a government school teacher in the village, the children in the village generally drop out between grade four and ten. Many children, especially those from poorer families would not have the opportunity to go to school. Most of the adults living in the village have not been educated at all.

Naing Paw continues, “School is free in this village, but we still need about 500 kyats per child to pay for miscellaneous costs. This is not always affordable for my husband and I. Sometimes it makes it difficult for us to still make ends meet for our family, especially during the low season, and sometimes there is not enough food to feed the children. I want the children to be educated and to live like the others who have a good education. I want them to have a good life in the future, unlike me, as I have not been to school at all. So I work to make sure that the children are able to attend school regardless of how difficult things are.”

Save the Children’s child protection and non-formal education programme helps to protect children neglect, exploitation and abuse, and offers out-of-school children a second chance at learning basic literacy and numeracy. A community development group is set up to oversee the programme in the village, including helping to construct a school for out-of-school children to learn, selecting people to attend and conduct caregiver training, parent education facilitator trainings, committee management training, etc.

In joining the group, Naing Paw now says she is more aware of the dangers of letting children play near water sources, good hygiene practices, and best approaches in communicating with children. She says she now encourages her children to tell her everything they learnt at school and maintain good hygiene habits. She hopes that her children can reach their full learning potential.