May* graduated from the school set up by OM at the Thailand-Myanmar Border in March 2020. She was Grade 6 at that time and had been in the school for eight years.
Now at 16 years old, she is no longer going to school like many young people in Myanmar. Her parents had divorced when she was seven years old. They have since remarried and are living with their respective families, leaving May under the care of her grandparents.
“My grandfather and grandmother are both getting weaker. Grandfather has been having hearing and vision problems. Grandmother’s appetite has not been good recently,” she explains.
Her family used to make straw brooms for a living. However, the straw ran out six months ago and they have not been able to make any more brooms. Furthermore, since the lockdown started in their village three months ago, nobody has been buying brooms.
“I’m in despair because we do not have enough food to eat. We are hungry every day. We do not have much savings and can only buy rice with whatever we have,” she adds.
With a dejected look, she says, “Because of the lockdown, many villagers are facing the same problems as us. They cannot earn any money and have to live on their savings.”
“There’s not much food we can forage in the woods around the village. Food prices have also increased. Our savings are running out and we don’t know what to do,” she shares, on the verge of tears.
In addition to the pandemic, many places in Myanmar have also been hard hit by torrential rains. During such a rainy season, villagers cannot find work in rubber plantations.
With the ongoing unrest in the nation since the military coup in February, access to further education has also been hampered for May.
“I would like to continue my studies in middle school. One day, I would like to become a teacher and earn money to support my grandparents,” May shares.
“After learning about Jesus in the school, I believe that Jesus is real. I pray to him secretly as my family will not like it if I pray openly. I asked him for help. When I heard that people sent by OM were coming to my village to give us food, I was so happy and grateful!”
When the food distribution truck arrived in her village, she was elated and without hesitation, hopped onto the truck to help with the distribution of food to homes on her street.
“Although I do not know a lot about the Covid-19 disease, I heard that some people die from getting Covid-19. I do get scared hearing that, but I am more afraid of not having enough food to eat.”