MEET BAWK KAI MAI
Bawk Kai Mai is five years old and lives in Kachin State, Myanmar. She attends one of the Early Childhood Development Centres we support in the remote mountain camps near the border of China.
She and her family were displaced by conflict and had to flee their home. Her father suffers from hypertension and her mother has to spend a lot of time caring for him. Even though Bawk Kai Mai is little, she helps her mum by doing chores like cleaning the house and going to the small market. Though her home life is unsettling, she goes to school regularly and doesn’t miss a single day.
Her teachers say she is always drawing pictures and creating colourful paintings. Bawk Kai Mai says, “I am very happy in school, I can play with many toys and eat noodles. I just want to become a good child for my father and mother”.
Ongoing conflict across Kachin State, Myanmar has left 120 000 internally displaced Kachin people living in remote mountain camps, cut off from education and support.
Children on the Edge support 14 Early Childhood Development centres for 431 displaced children in some of the most remote settlements, offering education, play and expert care for 3-6 year olds.
Children on the Edge have developed years of experience working with refugee children like Bawk Kai Mai. We currently support over 12,000 refugee children around the world to realise their rights. We find innovative ways to enable access to education, working alongside refugee communities to find the best possible solutions.
We train refugee teachers so that children can learn in their own language or dialect and be with familiar, trusted adults that understand them. Our classrooms are colourful and fun environments, where children are safe and can learn to express themselves.
Children can learn, play and discover how to be children again.
MORE ABOUT 'THE EDGE' IN KACHIN STATE
As a result of ongoing conflict across Kachin State, Myanmar, over 120,000 internally displaced Kachin people are living temporary and unstable lives in remote camps, throughout the mountainous areas close to the China border.
Children under the age of six in these camps have known little else but war and many have suffered severe trauma from what they have witnessed. Nearly all are unable to access basic services and, whilst there is some primary education, there is no provision for early years learning at what is a pivotal time in a child’s development.
WHAT CHILDREN ON THE EDGE ARE DOING TO HELP
Children on the Edge partner with two local organisations - Kachin Women’s Association and Kachin Development Group to support 14 Early Childhood Development Centres for 431 displaced children in eight of the most remote, outlying settlements. The Centres are safe, colourful spaces which also provide a robust Early Childhood Development curriculum for children aged 3-6 years old.
Teachers are trained from within the camps, delivering exceptionally high quality learning environments, despite being cut off from resources. The Centres are also supported by parents through local committees in each camp, who maintain the buildings, create play materials, provide nutrition and learn about parenting and child protection.
The aim is to allow Kachin children who have known nothing but conflict to simply enjoy being children in a vibrant, caring place for a few hours a day and give them the opportunity to recover and develop into healthy, stable young people. In the northern camps of Kachin state there is not a single other international organisation offering ongoing support for young children.