Every childhood is worth fighting for

The message of Child Protection Group member U Thet Maw

Meeting of Child Protection Group. Photo: PyaeThet Chael, People in Need Myanmar

Memories last forever, from a happy childhood to the last breath of our lives. There are times when we feel so happy that when we think of the good times, we feel nostalgic and wish to turn back time. On the other hand there are times when we feel helpless, eagerly trying to escape from the memories of a traumatic life.

As I was standing in front of the monastic school, I watched children who are playing with their friends after school. As much as I love looking at the smiles on their faces, I also feel worried about the children and their safety on their way home.

“It breaks my heart to see the children working in the tea shops with feelings of melancholy on their minds, watching the other children playing.”

Childhood brings us memories that are different from the ones we experienced in late adolescence and adult years. My hope is to protect these children and to make them feel safe living in our community.

There is no one children can tell about their desire to go to school

I live in a small village called Taunggyi in the Southern Shan State. Every once in a while, I notice bruises on the children that seem concerning and I hear them crying in distress. It breaks my heart to see the children working in the tea shops with feelings of melancholy on their minds, watching the other children playing. They might feel that there is no one they can tell about their desire to go to school because their own parents/guardians send them to work. More concerning is the knowledge that there is physical and sexual abuse occurring in our community.

Awareness campaign in the community. Photo: PyaeThet Chael, People in Need Myanmar

Abuse is one of the worst things that can ever happen to a child. Even though the children and families have experienced the darkest difficult times, I stand for offering hope and inspiration that someone does care and to let them know that with the right support their lives can be turned around.

However, for every darker night, there is a brighter day. One day, a person from People in Need came to our community and explained to us that we can be a part of protecting our children. Many thoughts ran through my mind, but the need for development in our community was clear. This is when I started becoming a member of Community-based Child Protection Group.

Make a real difference to children’s lives

Ever since I have been working in Child Protection Group, I am wholeheartedly motivated to make a real difference to children’s safety and wellbeing in our community. People in Need has been supporting us to a large extent: conducting VANE (Violence, Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation) training and Case Management Training. Furthermore, People in Need has provided us with financial support for the community-based child protection group to conduct awareness sessions for community members, parents, caregivers and children.

“Ever since I have been working in Child Protection Group, I am wholeheartedly motivated to make a real difference to children’s safety and wellbeing in our community.”

Having the opportunity to volunteer with the community-based child protection group is a very rewarding experience for me. I am able to see the tremendous impact for our community and the lives of children because of increased in parent and caregiver involvement in child protection. Our community has now acknowledged what we need to do to protect children from harm and the actions we should take to protect the rights of children.

Meeting of Child Protection Group. Photo: PyaeThet Chael, People in Need Myanmar

Every childhood is worth fighting for. A tragic accident might have caused the children to lose many things, but that should not let them lose hopes for the future. People in Need has taught us that as a community we can help children develop to their fullest potential. Thank you, People in Need Myanmar, I now believe that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Taunggyi, Southern Shan State, September 2017

The project is funded by European Union and Czech Development Agency.

PyaeThet Chael, PIN Myanmar Communication Officer