By Wai Hsu, Editorial Staff for Mary K. Yap Foundation (Yangon Project Office) January 02, 2017
‘'She can manage herself and can challenge herself without giving up a sweat”, said Sister 'Rosemary', the Chief patron administrator for Sister Franciscan School for Orphans in Hmabwi, Yangon Division, Myanmar.
Than Than Htwe a.k.a. “Theophine”, called by her friends and roommates at the all-girl orphanage school was only 6 years old, when she was survived by a deadly typhoon “Nargis”, in May 2008. The devastation left majority of the Ayeyarwady State that included the pristine beaches of Ngapli in the Rakhine State of Myanmar brought social and economic hardships for many families. The total estimated deaths were reported to be in excess of 138,000 people according to the U.N. report, “Burma cyclone caused $4bn in damage, UN report says’, FIANACIAL TIMES from London, 22 June 2008. Among the people included Theophine’s parents along with her 3 siblings from the list of over one hundred thousand people who were swept away by the most vicious cyclone attacks in the country’s history.
One can possibly imagine the trauma and emotional scar for many families who were affected by the works of nature. Fortunately for Theophine, the youngest of the 8 siblings, was survived by her 2 sisters and 2 brothers who were known to have been rescued by other family members according to Sister Rosemary.
The catastrophic event brought the under-aged, Than Than Htwe to Myittamon Shelter during the darkest months of June 2008. She was counted as one of the 25 orphans to be salvaged by Sister Rosemary along with few good hearted Roman Catholic Nuns, representing the Sister Franciscan School for Orphans. Than Than Htwe is now 13 years old. At Grade 8th, She has grown to be a responsible individual. She attends at the Basic Educational High School of Government in Myaung Da Ga Township, a population of only 103 households, in a small isolated village about 2 hours away from the commercial capital City of Yangon.
“When I grow up, I want to help the neglected children. 'I'll try hard to study. I'll help my friends who live with me in this orphan compound. And then, I'll care for the needs of the poor as what Sister Rosemary and other sisters in this orphanage house are committed to do.”, passionately expressed by Theophine. When asked about what she wanted to be, she said, “I want to draw, design homes, and buildings. I want to become an architect.”
Theophine is one of the two students from the orphanage house of the Sister Franciscan School for Orphans, selected by the Mary K. Yap Foundation to participate in the 'High School Diploma” Program. During the recent visit to the Sister Franciscan School for Orphans on December 23, 2016, to celebrate Christmas holidays, Mr. Peter K. Yap, Vice Chair and Secretary of Mary K. Yap Foundation, proudly stated that “No orphans should be forgotten and deprived of basic educational needs and must be given equal accessibility to learning.”
The Mary K. Yap Foundation looks forward to be a source of hope for all orphaned children who are faced with emotional turbulence and live under strict poverty. Due to the poor educational system in Myanmar, especially for the orphan community, the ‘High School Diploma Program’ was developed to extend hope to these disadvantaged orphan children. The Mary K. Yap Foundation aims to transform the lives of Myanmar orphans so that they can become independent and productive members in their communities.
According to Myanmar’s Educational system, the school children can receive a high school diploma after passing the 10th standard matriculation examination. Without the completion of the high school curriculum, the students will be faced with little or no prospects for higher education and hence, the future career advancement will be bleak for these children. Many of them will be isolated, unwanted, and possibly ignored by the larger community.
“The Missing Million: Fewer than one in five graduate high school”, authored by Stuart Alan Becker, published on 18, May 2015 by the Myanmar Times, shared some perplexing statistics about the quality of the education in Myanmar based on the inputs and data analysis derived from the Comprehensive Education Sector Review (CESR) – Information on the findings from the CESR studies can be captured at (www.cesrmm.org).
Due to the early exits from the existing school system mentioned in the Myanmar Times’s article, the shocking truth can be told about the missing “one million” of youths each year. From the pool of 700,000 children, one could not possibly imagine the number of disadvantaged children who did not make it to the 10th standard because of they were simply labeled as orphans.
For more information about the Mary K. Yap Foundation’s “High School Diploma” program, please visit http://marykyapfoundation.org/high-school-diploma-for-orphans
About Mary. K. Yap Foundation:
A non-profit organization under the section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, registered in State of Delaware, U.S.A with (EIN47-2687230). One of the ultimate aims of the foundation is to provide orphans of all ages in Myanmar with shelter, food, healthcare and basic education. The generous contributions and donations extended by friends and family members of Mary K. Yap Foundation are made available to better the lives of children.