Burma: Nursery Schools for internally displaced children
Children under five - displaced and vulnerable
On the Salween riverbanks running across the border of Burma and Thailand the Ei Htu Hta Refugee camp holds over 4,500 displaced people fleeing from ethnic cleansing and government oppression.
Since the November 2010 elections in Burma, the government have claimed that the oppressive military regime has been disbanded. Burma UK reports a very different story, where the dictatorship across the country is fully functioning. They describe how half a million ethnic people are displaced in the east of the country as the Burma army target women and girls for rape, burn down village schools and use villagers for forced labour. Healthcare is non-existent and extensive farmlands have been destroyed.
As these human rights violations and atrocities by the military dictatorship intensify in Karen State, Burma, hundreds of persecuted families from the Karen minority have fled their villages. Many travel east, all the way to the outer edges of Burma to seek refuge at Ei Htu Hta camp.
Children under five years old are vulnerable in any community, but displaced children here are three times more likely to suffer from acute malnutrition. Despite attempts by families to grow their own food, farming conditions on these riverbanks are poor. One in seven children in this camp will die before the age of five.
What we do to help:
In response to these circumstances, Children on the Edge helped to establish four nursery schools in the Ei Htu Hta camp to support 300 children from the most vulnerable families.
One of the most pressing challenges for the families in the camp is getting enough to eat. Open daily, the nurseries combat malnutrition by providing lunch and afternoon snacks. For just 7 pence a day, we ensure each child received rice, egg and curried vegetables daily, and milk once a week.
The schedule also ensures each child can access crucial early years education, play and fun in a safe environment. Each nursery, situated in large bamboo buildings raised on stilts, is full of children learning basic alphabet, writing skills, and numeracy. They enjoy singing, story telling, playing and drawing. At mid morning you will find them stretched out on mats, having their morning naps in peace.