Education enables girls to achieve their rights. It empowers girls with confidence and independence. It provides girls with a path out of poverty, and it gives girls hope for a better life. Education is a silver bullet for empowering women and girls worldwide. Education is the ANSWER.
But girls need access to education. The primary barriers preventing girls’ access to education are lack of schools, distance to schools, conflict, hunger and poor nutrition, school fees, disabilities, and being the ‘wrong’ gender.
Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady Delta is one of the poorest-of-the-poor regions in the country. Access to education is severely hampered by typical barriers as well as weather, geography, and natural disasters. Cyclone Nargis wiped out 60% of the schools in the southeast portion of the Delta in 2008. Villages in the Thabaung district are flooded half of the year from monsoons and the Delta’s low lying lands just 3m above sea level. Children typically travel to school by boat, frequently traveling through shark-infested waters.
Educational Empowerment, in collaboration with Helping the Burmese Delta, recently built a primary school in the village of Khin Tan to provide access to education for girls and boys. We’ve all heard ‘it takes a village’. This is especially true when constructing a school in these remote villages. All materials must be brought in by boat and strong backs. The school’s concrete feet, raising the level of the school floor to 10 feet to withstand flooding, is literally the first step.
Villagers donated land for Htan Kyun School and committed to building and maintaining and nurturing this symbol of hope for their children. Their school district is unique. Local administrators actively support education as a priority for boys and girls. Although not yet officially government certified, Htan Kyun already has 5 teachers – 3 women and 2 men for grades 1-5. Forty-three students are currently enrolled, and the number will grow quickly as nearby villagers learn of this glorious school.
As Malala stated at the Oslo Education Summit this week, “a child should not be kept away from the opportunity of going to school, to dream big, to aim higher, without limit.” ALL children deserve access to education.
If you want to empower girls to achieve their rights,
- join Girls Globe conversations on Twitter @GirlsGlobe
- become a champion for girls’ and women’s rights
- donate to Educational Empowerment, and
- let your voice be heard for girls worldwide!
Educational Empowerment was created by women and for women and girls. EE promotes literacy and education for children, families and communities severely affected by poverty and injustice in Myanmar. By empowering women and girls through education, we position women in Myanmar to attain their equal rights.