Mytikyina Education program
The Jesuits believe that education is one means of bringing transformation and hope to communities whose lives have been upturned by conflict and war.
Even though there has been significant development for Myanmar (previously known as Burma) since democratic elections were permitted in 2015, war continues to be waged in Kachin State in the north of the country. After violent conflict resumed in Kachin State in 2011, thousands of women, men and children have been forced to flee their homes. Today, over 120,000 civilians are internally displaced persons (IDPs) and are forced to live in about 200 IDP camps throughout Kachin State. For families living in the IDP camps, education for their children is one of their major concerns. With repeated displacement, and no end to the conflict in sight, many parents are worried about ensuring their children have access to formal education. In Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, the Jesuits have established an education program in an IDP camp that helps ensure young people in the camps will not fall too far behind in their schooling. The education program supports the mainstream education system by providing remedial and supplementary classes for over 200 young people, from pre-school to final year students. There is a special focus on bringing back children who have dropped out of the mainstream education system. The classes allow young people to gain self-confidence and motivation to continue their education, so that they have the opportunity for a better future. The Jesuits working in the camps also found many young people who had completed their school studies and were keen to continue to higher education. However due to the ongoing war, they hadn’t been able to meet the expenses required for further education. In response to this situation, Jesuit Mission supports these students living in the IDP camps with scholarships to attend the nearby St Luke’s College and other higher education institutes. Many of these students undertake training in skills for community rebuilding and peacemaking; and they aim to return to serve their communities as community leaders once they have completed their studies.
“… the presence of the Myanmar Jesuit Mission is a symbol of hope to all of us trainees and the suffering neighbourhood IDP children and residents.”