Film highlights struggles to finish school in Kayah State

Thursday 15 September 2016

A short film featuring a young girl’s struggle to balance household chores and school, has won Save the Children’s inaugural Kayah State short film contest promoting the rights of children to finish school.

Local filmmaker, Aung Si Hein, said he was inspired to make his winning film after witnessing first-hand how children in his local community were failing to complete school due to the pressures placed upon them to work.

“I have seen the situation of children who have to do daily household chores and other tasks for their families,” Aung Si Hein said.

“They have to go to school themselves while children in the cities are accompanied by their parents. The children in the village are used to this kind of work - and they don’t even know what their rights are. As a result, they leave school at an early age.”

The contest is a collaboration between Save the Children, the Kayah State Government and the Kayah Phu Social Services Development Association. It was launched in response to Save the Children’s 2015 Child Rights Situation Analysis Report which showed school dropout rates in rural areas were increasing. One of the primary reasons identified for the increase was that local children were often needing to do household chores or work to supplement their family’s poor financial situation.

U Min Win Zaw Htun, Save the Children’s Project Manager, Child Rights & Governance in Kayah State, said the contest aims to promote awareness of child rights issues by encouraging local filmmakers to create powerful stories that highlight the situation of the children living in rural areas.

“We hope the competition raises public awareness on child rights issues through educating the public in local ethnic language - and by attracting scholars and experts to get involved in the activities of children,” U Min Win Zaw Htun said.

Aung Si Hein hopes that many people in Kayah and across Myanmar will see his film - and he hopes it will remind people about the importance of education in a child’s future.

“I saw the advertisement of this contest and what grabbed my attention was that it said the documentary videos of the contestants will be used to raise awareness, whether they won a prize or not.

“I won the best documentary award and it is an added blessing for me.”

Aung Si Hein’s film has already reached over 78,000 people and has been viewed 20,000 times people Save the Children Myanmar’s Facebook page