Monthly Archives: June 2013

Privilege by the Numbers

Standard

I salute all of my early childhood educators because it really is not an easy job!
Not only do you have to create (or find) work for your students to do that will challenge them without being so difficult that they give up–but you also have to make adjustments for different ages and skill levels and most of the time you’re on your own.

I am appreciative of all of my teaching experience thus far, from African Soul to Jumpstart because otherwise I wouldn’t have a clue where to begin.
Since I am doing a Davis Peace Project rather than an internship, a lot of the work we will do will be dictated by us alone (Tenzin and I). We are working on small textbooks that can be used throughout the classroom and for subsequent years. We hope to have those translated into Burmese and Thai with the help of the wonderful Cynthia Aye. It’s a challenge because we need to include work sheets as well as games that are still challenging and can allow each student to learn at their own pace and even if a native English speaker is not available they can still learn the concepts.

Our 4 focus points are: Nutrition, Sanitation/Preventing Illness, Adolescence/Puberty, and Human Rights.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, first a small introduction to the organization we are working with: Heavenly Homes Orphanage.
67 children live inside the small home-turned-orphanage

15 are in day care

24 children are under 5 years old and do not go to school Monday-Friday

2 adults who have dedicated their lives to working with and helping these children

These are some of the statistics we are up against– but as Cynthia once said “Giving people the basic skills and letting them fight for themselves is the best thing you can do.”

Quote

“You should never let your fears prevent you from doing what you know is right.”

-Aung San Suu Kyi (Burmese activist and winner of Nobel Peace Prize)

Since I started telling people what I’m doing this summer, I have received a few negative sentiments in regards to where I will be going. These often stem from the idea of Burma as being a dangerous place. What people don’t know is that I have been ready to go to Burma since 10th grade when I first learned about the polical situation and took the initiative to speak to a few people who lived there.

I remember getting the same types of comments before going to Vietnam. Perhaps because of the legacy of war or because we as American students have had “communism is evil” shoved down our throats since we were old enough to¬†know geography. But being in Vietnam proved all of that wrong. Burma is notorious for being repressive…but I am not taking anyone’s word for it.

Crazy or not I want to know what it is like to live under a dictatorship. After all, many people in the world do.

So, here’s to fear of the unknown. And more importantly, the ability to overcome it.

Quote to start the day…