Migrant Stories of Hope: Sometimes my mother tells me to stop going to school

My name is Aye Aye San, I am fifteen years old and I was born in Ranong, Thailand. I am in Year 2 of the MAF Burmese Migrant Secondary Education Programme.

When my mother was 3 months pregnant with me my father passed away. After I was born my mother and I moved to a village in Dawei, Myanmar. After 7 years we moved back to Ranong and my mother began work in the fish factory and married my step father who was a fisherman.

My mother has now retired because she has hurt her back and last month my step father developed stomach problems so he has had to stop working for now, we are worried because we are only living off my sister’s income.

My older sister had hopes to get an education and become a teacher but she must work to support my family. She always encourages me to continue studying and working hard so I can have the future that she wanted.

Sometimes my mother tells me to stop going to school and work to earn money instead, we have arguments because I don’t want to leave school and I get very upset. But my sister always believes in my education and works harder for income.

My sister has told me if I focus and do well in my studies that she will try save up to buy a laptop for me. She knows how much it would help me in my school work and she wants to support my education.

I attended Victoria Learning Centre from preschool to Grade 6, during this time I heard about Marist Asia Foundation and I wanted to join. This year I took the entrance test and was able to get in to Year 1, I was so happy to come to this school.

This year I have realized my Thai and English language has improved so much and I think that is very important for my future. I now feel more confident to speak in these different languages to Thai and English speaking people. I have also loved doing practical things at Marist Asia Foundation and different kinds of learning.

I feel like I have matured this year, I have learned how to have good relationships with myself and others. I have also learned a lot about my own culture too and have more respect for Burmese way.

I hope to finish Year 4 at MAF and go onto the ACU programme, but I always worry that I will have to stop studying to work and earn money. I dream to be an air hostess when I finish studying but my mother wants me to be a business woman. If I am able to be an airhostess I think I will be so lucky and happy to travel and see different places around the world.

Sometimes I feel sad but I always try to keep a smile on my face in front of others and try staying happy. I often worry about money and how my family will have enough to pay for rent, documents, school and food.

But I am very grateful to go to school and I would like to say thank you to people who help our school. It is very different from my other school and there are lots of creative things to do. We can also watch videos and see pictures of history and different places on the TV. These things help me learn and I can have more fun while learning. Thank you.