19 June 2015
When Htet Htet Hlaing had her first tetanus injection, the left side of her body stopped growing, leaving her left eye squinted, and her left arm and leg paralysed. Her mother, Daw Aye Mhone, 51, has been taking care of her ever since. She is now a happy 10-year-old grade four student in Laputta Township, Ayeyarwaddy Division, and Myanmar.
“My husband doesn’t have stable work,” Daw Aye Mhone said. “So I have to be so careful about spending money, I can’t work either because my daughter can’t be home alone. I even have to accompany her to school.” Indeed, Daw Aye Mhone has devoted her life to her daughter’s development, ensuring that she receives an education as she believes that it is the only way to create a stable and promising life for her daughter’s future. She spends her time taking care of her daughter helping her with daily activities, taking her to school and training her to walk. “She only uses her right hand for writing, eating and in the rest room,” said Daw Aye Mhone. “Since training her to walk, she has been much better at it.However, she is still unable to use her right hand.”
Daw Aye Mhone was trained by KMSS through a parental education programme, where she learnt to treat her children kindly to give motivation. “She is now very good at studying but weaker in Math,” she said. “I often talk with her teacher on her education as well.”
Across Myanmar, 7 in 10 disabled children are not enrolled in school, because their parents do not think it is necessary or school do not accept them. Even for those that go to school, 65% of those drop out during or after primary school. According to “Inclusive education and children with disabilities in Yangon, Myanmar”, produced by Eden, “Children with disabilities felt most worried about exams, using the toilets and travelling to and from school. Furthermore children reported that teachers and friends helped them the most at school, highlighting the importance of social relationships. Most children with disabilities who were out of school reported feeling sad about not going school, demonstrating the importance of education for them.”
From parent’s perspective, the report mentioned, “They have positive attitudes towards their children’s education. Parents see education as a means for children to gain independence, find employment and overcome stigma.”
Daw Aye Mhone says she will continue sending her daughter to school regardless of how hard it gets. “I don’t know what her life will be. Her dad cries about it as well. We do not know what her future and life will be like after us,” she said. “But she told me that she wants to be a teacher and I do want her to be teacher as well. Even it is hard, I will continue to hope and work hard for her to be a teacher.”