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Over one hundred children who work in teashops in Rangoon are benefiting from a summer internship with volunteers from Hong Kong.
The Myanmar Mobile Education Project works to alleviate poverty and the abuses associated with child labour by providing less fortunate children in the city with free education.
A charitable organisation set up by Burmese exiles in New York, the group sponsors a renovated bus which carries a team of volunteer teachers across Rangoon to offer classes.
As the project has expanded, classes have moved off the bus and into city teashops. Teashops are a common workplace for young children, earning money to contribute to their family’s income. Since the initiative was forged in January 2014, classes have drawn a lot of attention from eager students. Teashop owners have come on board too, signing up to the project which allows working kids the chance to learn for a few hours a day.
Some 120 child labourers are now enrolled in the Myanmar Mobile Education Project programme, for which the mobile classroom has teamed up with City University in Hong Kong and is offering the students a six-month summer internship.
A team of teachers and student volunteers from the university has arrived in Burma to get the programme started.
The classes will focus on tutoring the children but will also teach them life skills such as building social relationships and personal hygiene.
Tim Maung Maung Aye is project manager at the foundation’s headquarters in New York.
“We have been planning this [project] with the children for the past few months. [We take into account] what to teach, the age range of children at the designated teashop, their background and education level,” he said.
“Based on these details, we decided what subjects to teach.”
Most of the children who work in Rangoon’s teashops come from rural areas. They came to the city looking for work to support their families back home.
For the children, it could be a second chance to gain a better education and escape a life of poverty.
For more on the Myanmar Mobile Education Project, visit their site here.