Lucky turn in the life of a young refugee

Ta Um Lau answers questions confidently, with pride and a big smile. Working as a teacher has given a boost to her spirit. Photo: Frédéric Fessard

Finn Church Aid assists internally displaced people in northern Shan State in Myanmar, where unresolved armed conflict has made it difficult to make progress in finding durable solutions for displaced people. For Ta Um Lau, 22, who lives in Mansa camp in northern Shan, a window of opportunity opened right there in the camp – a job as a teacher.

“I fled the fighting in my home town 4 years ago and found shelter in the camp,” Ta Um Lau tells.

The camp provided safety, but the lack of opportunities limited Ta Um Lau’s capacity to provide for herself and her family. The few rations she brought with her lasted some time, but she soon had to rely on the support of others willing to lend her food.

FCA’s work in the camp is focused on improving access to education, including through the creation of child friendly spaces. Ta Um was employed as a teacher in one of them.

“With my salary, I’m able to cover my needs. The position as a teacher also allows me to be more empowered in the community.”

Finn Church Aid supports internally displaced people (IDPs) in Northern Shan, Kachin and Rakhine. FCA wants to provide conflict-affected children an opportunity to continue their education, offer them safe conditions for learning, and provide them protection and psycho-social support.

With psycho-social support and through Youth clubs FCA wants to offer awareness and options for youth to cope better and differently with challenges – and not opt automatically for migration.