December 18th, 2018
Messages from Loi Tai Leng
Having escaped ethnic conflict and human rights abuses under the Burmese Army, thousands of Shan people are seeking refuge at Loi Tai Leng, one of six displacement camps along the Burma-Thai border. The following messages have been sent from students at our partner organisation, Loi Tai Leng School.
Yi Moung, 22, describes the situation in Shan State:
There are many ethnic nationalities in our Shan State. We have all lived together for a long time. In the past we lived together with peace and love for each other from ethnic group to another. We called each other “brothers”.
I would like you to know what’s happening in our State.
Politics was destroyed by the Burmese army. The Constitution of the Shan State was written by the Burmese military. It is not the people’s voices. Ethnic people in the country have suffered greatly.
Education is very important for our nation. Every country in the world knows education knowledge is powerful. Every child in the world has a chance to go to study at school.
In the Shan State we are hungry for peace. We need independence to solve it. We need opportunity to control our own state. All us young people in the state are begging for the right to have a chance to study our own education.
Success for Loi Tai Leng
In September, our Trustee Jo and her Sister-in-Law Fran raised £10,000 to support an English Learning Programme at the school. English is a crucial tool for these students to reach university in Thailand and legally work across the border and achieve a higher quality of life with freedom from the ethnic violence that continues to threaten many minority communities in Burma.
For many young people living in displacement camps, school is the only place that offers safety and stability. More than half of the 800 students attending Loi Tai Leng board in dormitories as their villages are too far away to walk, but many others are making two-hour journeys to get to school. Some students have been orphaned or abandoned as a result of the conflict that has raged between the Shan State and the Burmese Army.
Hpon Sang Leng, 18, gives an account of her first day:
I would like to tell you a story about my first day in Loi Tai Leng.
I had an opportunity to join the Mayor’s Office as Secretary for four months just for learning. One day I told my leader that I want to go to Loi Tai Leng. He asked me “Why do you want to go there?”
I told him, “If I have the opportunity I want to stay in school.”
He told me “OK! Alright, you want to go there.” And he allowed me to go to Loi Tai Leng. I was so happy.
When I came to Loi Tai Leng my mind wasn’t ready and I looked at the mountains. I cried that I want to go home on my first day in the boarding house. On my second day I went to school. I told my class where I came from and why I am studying here. I said my thoughts and I felt better.
Now I like studying and solving problems and difficulties.
My first day in Loi Tai Leng I was crying and unhappy. Now I am so happy.
Many students sent notes of gratitude to Fran, ‘the world’s best teacher’, who spent a month at the school in Loi Tai Leng.
If you wish to donate to HART and help fund the Loi Tai Leng follow this link https://www.hart-uk.org/donate/
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