WHAT ARE THEY DOING NOW?
All Prospect Burma's scholarship students commit to return to Burma when they can, and in the past few months we have heard from many of them, both through our pages on Facebook and by direct email. We are using pseudonyms for obvious reasons.
Myint Thein reports from Burma having graduated from the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand where his thesis title was “Detection of opium poppy fields using moderate resolution satellite imagery”. Now back home, he is working in geographic information system management and says “I will continue working in a humanitarian related organisation to serve the best to the people in Myanmar and around the region.”
In London, Prospect Burma supported Chit Maung through his Architectural EngineeringDegree - this is an excerpt taken from his report on his future plans “I strongly believe education is the fundamental requirement for my country. There is a huge need to increase the number of good engineers in Burma and I would like to be one of them, who could share and use his experiences and knowledge for the development of Burma like a brick at the corner, like a building of a town, like an engineer for the country.”
A medical graduate sent us her study research report on Burmese migrant workers living in Thailand (some of whom are supported in their education through a project financed by Prospect Burma). She is now a qualified doctor and for the past six years she has working for an international NGO based in Rangoon providing supervision and monitoring for community based health care TB and HIV/AIDS projects.
It is obviously difficult for our students returning to Burma to find job placements, and in a response to this we invested $3000 in an internship programme, and have just agreed to commit another $10,000 over the next year. This money will be used to source and provide students with internships with development-focussed organisations and community workers in the region in order to hone their skills.
Naw Christina who received funding from Prospect Burma to study Aquaculture and Aquatic Resources Management completed her Master's degree in 2005 and then sought an internship to gain more practical experience with the South East Asian Fisheries Development Centre based in the Philippines. Her two main responsibilities were working in the Hatchery and conducting studies in the laboratory. She felt that the most valuable aspect of her internship was the training in larval techniques in hatcheries and the culturing of micro algae, zooplankton and seaweed. Christina is now back in Burma conducting environmental and livelihood assessments as a freelance professional. Using the experience she gained, she is passing new techniques on to small scale farmers in the areas affected by Cyclone Nargis.
Nang Hseng Noan graduated with a Master's degree in International Development and applied for an internship where she could learn about methods of environmental rehabilitation in developing countries, this is her story.My internship was spent at Navdanya Bija Vidyapeeth founded by Dr Vandana Shiva who is a famous environmentalist. (Navdanya started as a programme of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology to provide direction and support to environmental activism. It has its own seed bank and organic farm spread over an area of 20 acres in Uttrakhand, north India.)
It was amazing! I could practice what I have learnt from books. I got a chance to attend some international courses on Gandhi and Globalisation. I met many excellent people from different countries. Unforgettably, Satish Kkumar the founder of Schumacher College in the UK and Professor Sandhong Rinpoche, the Tibetan Prime Minister in Exile.
I am going to spend my future to be happy by working for my people.
Dr Aung Shwe who received a grant from Prospect Burma to study for a Master's degree in Public Health at an American university in 2007 returned to Burma to work on the malaria programme of a major international charity. He writes “My main job responsibilities include developing malaria training materials and conducting malaria training. Our social franchising malaria programme provides rapid malaria diagnostic tests. Since I arrived back, I have conducted seven new trainings in very remote malaria endemic areas, mostly situated in border areas and mountainous areas. A total of 89 providers were trained. Currently I have to solve the problem of a shortage of malaria commodities to provide enough for all 552 trained providers. There are many limitations to procure quality drugs and some limitations persist beyond our reachable limit. I strongly believe that the knowledge that I learnt at college will benefit the malaria control programme in my country. I hope that my contribution will have an impact on improving health care for the poor. I strongly believe that the Prospect Burma scholarship programme benefits Burmese students who are struggling hard to finish theiracademic career.”
Earlier this year, we heard from Than Tun, a Prospect Burma graduate who has formed an education network to help Burmese students prepare for TOEFL tests, (an English language test) which, for many, is their passport to overseas study. He wrote “There is nothing more powerful than Knowledge. It is the backbone for making decisions in our lives. I cannot deny that I have been changed totally by what I have learnt at university in Thailand during three and a half years. If recalling past memory, I was living with no vision. Indeed, daily life was spent without vivid purpose of life or inspiration. The ability of five senses could not reach out to greater distance of meaningful life. The critical thinking was far behind thought. It was like a boat without a paddle. However, today, knowledge has transformed me into a different person.”
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