Eighteen-year-old Khun San Mhway lives in Htee Lone village with his mother and is the youngest of nine children. His father died when he was five years old, leaving only his mother to raise the children by farming corn and rice and working as a day laborer. There is only a primary school in the village which limits the children’s opportunities to continue their education past the fifth grade. The dropout rate is high as most parents cannot afford the financial commitment of sending their kids to middle and high schools that are located far away from Htee Lone village.
“It was so painful for me to ask my son to drop out of school because I couldn’t afford a motorcycle or take out a loan to buy one for him, which would put my family in even more debt if he said he wanted to continue studying. I’ve set aside $250 for his education expenses this year, which will cover all books, school fees, uniforms, and stationery but not the motorbike. Finally, we are so fortunate to have received the scholarship, and our family can breathe easier with no additional debt,” Khun San Mhway’s mother shared.
Htee Lone’s Village Development Team highlighted a scholarship fund as a priority at the beginning of their partnership with the Shanta Foundation. The village committee manages its growth and distribution to support motivated youth to continue their education through high school.
Khun Say’s family’s annual income is less than $1,000 since the coup due to inflated commodity prices, an effect of political instability in Myanmar. Transferring to a city boarding school was not an option financially for his family. Khun San desperately needed a motorbike to commute the three miles to the nearest high school to complete his education. However, his family was unable to pay for it due to the need to save resources for family consumption. He would be forced to give up this dream and work as a day laborer and farmer for the rest of his life.
In 2022, Khun Say received $100 US from the scholarship fund to purchase a used motorbike for the commute. He will complete his remaining year of high school with pride and gratitude. We are excited to see what path he chooses upon graduation!
“My ambition is to become an engineer as well as a well-supported son and brother for my family.” “I’m blessed to be a scholarship student, and I’m grateful to the village leaders and Shanta for creating stairs for our youth,” Khun San Mhway said thankfully.