June 1, 2017 is a popular day for the children around the world as we join hands to celebrate the arrival of the "International Children’s Day". It is also an important occasion in Myanmar since it marks the first day for the children to attend government mandated schools.
Our Vice president of the Mary K. Yap Foundation, Mr. Peter K. Yap was eager to spend quality time with the children from the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Sisters orphanage (F.M.M) a.k.a Myittamon Shelter on their first day of class. This visit was Mr. Yap’s third visit to the shelter during the past 12 months. He was accompanied by two volunteering staffs from our local office in Yangon.
This coming school year, the F.M.M will be housing 40 children, mostly orphan candidates. That number represents an increase of 8 from the earlier number of 32 children recorded in 2016. From the 54 million in population size, the total number of students enrolled in the government schools serving all levels from primary to secondary, and onto the higher education enrollment was about 9,078,360 million, according to the government compilation in 2017 (source: estimated on May 15, 2017, article of Myanmar Times written by author – Ei Shwe Phyu, “Why private schools are the better choice”).
The poor children in Myanmar can’t afford to attend schools simply because their parents require them to work at the early age. Overcoming the day-to-day needs to survive become an important family consideration where sending the children to school can easily mean less income and more expenses for the individual households. This is the same predicament that brought 40 children from the underserved communities to the all-girls school boarder house at the Myittamon shelter. These children come from rural settings. Some are from the boonies where household of 4 to 6 family members survived on US $3 dollar per day (source: according from them). Because the children can’t attend schools in their hometowns and their custodians can’t afford their school expenses, they came to the Myittamon housing to study and to complete their high school diploma.
The F.M.M Orphanage housing is supported partially by financial assistance received from outside donors. A large portion of their expenses are subsidized using their own resources from the plantation sales, and proceeds made from a small shop operated by sisters. The funds generated from the leasing of a small plot which was an endowment from the government also served as reliable source of income to feed, and shelter these young disadvantaged children. The shelter is known in the community as the only facility in the Hmawbi Township (a population of 244,607 according to census 2014) to accept children as young as 6 years old who are either parentless or who come from a single parent background. Few are sent to the compound as result of being abandoned by their parents since the elders were not able to care for them.
On the “International Children Day”, it was significantly important to share an inspirational message of hope to the children on their first school day in Myanmar. Whether keeping up with school studies, and being on time to class, or solving a simple mathematical problems, and preparing for the examinations, always remember to address every new experiences with an absolute excitement and a feeling of “Yes, I can” attitude. This was passionately encouraged by Mr. Yap to the children who are ready to embark on their 9 months long of journey of schooling.
“Although the next 9 months of school year may be long, must look forward to achieving every responsibilities and duties with an invigorating outlook of Yes, I can,” said Mr. Yap. The positive minded approach was instilled in the mindsets of these young children to rise up to the occasion and not be discouraged by fear of failures or intimidation. The children were encouraged to study and to work hard. They were left with the impression that as long as they do their part, there will always be
assistance available for them to complete their studies no matter what the situation calls for. This was the unbreakable commitment made to these young children during the returned visit.
The Mary K. Yap Foundation is pleased to organize the Educational Fund Charity for the “High School Diploma” program in the upcoming annual charity event scheduled on July 8th (reference to www.marykyapfoundation.org). You too can join in helping the greater cause by visiting our ‘Lending a Hand’ Program, please refer to the http://marykyapfoundation.org/lending-a-hand
About Mary K. Yap Foundation
The Mary K. Yap Foundation has been consistently helping the orphan communities in Myanmar since 2001. The organization was incorporated in 2014 in the State of Delaware with the tax-exempt status under the section 501 (c) of the US Internal Revenue code.