Help Us Keep Students Out of Combat
“Most of these kids, if they cannot go to school, they marry at 13 years old, 15 years old…either they marry or they go into the army.” Our PAK47 partner explained to me.
I asked, “So you’re telling me that teenagers as young as 13 can join the army?”
“There are some that can join at 10 years old, 11 years old,” she responded.
This is what our Justice Alliance (JA) partners who are working on the border of Myanmar and Thailand are trying to prevent. But the threat goes beyond early marriage or enlisting in the army at a young age. This area is a known human trafficking and drug trafficking region. Some children are drawn into lives of trafficking and crime. Our team is fighting hard to keep this from happening. “When possible, we try to accommodate them in here when they express that they would like to go on for further studies hoping we can give them a new direction in life.” Their work goes beyond trying to save children from combat or crime, they are trying to invest in Myanmar’s future. She told me, “If these kids would not be educated, not be sent to school…they are the next leaders in their villages…they are the hope of their villages.” Most of these children are from remote mountain villages where a high school education is expensive and almost impossible to access. Some of them are forced to travel to the capital of Myanmar for further education, but many cannot afford it. Others who do not want to join the army cross the border into Thailand. This is where our partners have been working.
Our JA partners weren’t trying to start a home to house students from Myanmar, but there was a need. A local government official saw the need and offered a home for the children to stay in. So, our local leaders took on the task of managing the home earlier this year. It hasn’t been easy. They are running out of food, and that was what we were talking about on the phone. Everyone at the home chips in, the children pay for their lodging by bringing vegetables from their villages, but that is all the food they have for now. “They have vegetables from their village, but it is not sufficient for the whole week…they don’t have enough for meat…since they are going to school we want to have good nutrients for them and rice,” She added, “Some of them are content with just chili and fish paste…” but it is not enough for the week and they want to be able to offer them better food than that. Project AK47 was able to distribute some emergency assistance to help them out, but it is only a short-term fix for a much longer-term problem. We are looking for sustainable solutions for the future, but in the short-term now we are appealing for your help. There are 31 children living in this safe home attending school at the border, and the cost of feeding them is only a little over a dollar per day. So, to feed one student a nutritious meal three times a day for a month costs only $35-40 per month. Will you join us in supporting this children’s home that is keeping children out of combat, out of trafficking, and preparing students to become leaders in their home communities? To donate click here.