Child labourer finds hope

Phyu rushes out of her simple house of wood on stilts, covered with a thatched roof headed ‘to school’.

On Phyu’s shoulder, instead of the school bag, a big plastic bag is filled with locally available snacks. Being ‘in school’ for Phyu is earning income to support her sister’s educational costs.

She works to keep her sister in school.

Phyu lives with her grandparents and younger sister in a small village in LaungLon Township, a coastal region in southern part of Myanmar.

Phyu’s parents are migrant workers in Thailand, though rarely send money to her and her sister.

Household expenses and educational costs were a big challenge for Phyu’s family.

Phyu wanted to help her family, so she dropped out of school to help her grandmother, and, more importantly, to support her sister’s education.

Phyu had not even finished the 7th grade.

To start the business, Phyu borrowed 200,000 Kyats (USD $200) from local moneylender with a 5% interest rate.

“I need to invest around 10,000 Kyats ($USD 10) per day, but the net profit for a day is around 2,000 kyats (USD $2),” says Phyu.

When school was in session, Phyu sold refreshments and snacks in the school compound but on days off, she wandered around in a village as a hawker, selling local Myanmar snacks.

When World Vision staff members noticed Phyu’s situation, they sat down and talked with her.

In order to support Phyu's financial needs for her business, community volunteers provided her with a long-term loan of 50,000 Ks (USD $50) from the community savings bank with a very low interest rate of just 1%.

From that moment, she started saving more money, which allowed her to fully support her sister's schooling fees (stationery and pocket money) and some household expenses.

Phyu aims to attend sewing classes and to become a designer. With perseverance and passion Phyu is saving to attend the sewing classes too.

“If I save 35,000 Ks (USD $35), I can attend a sewing class,” shares Phyu, “I would like to become a designer who creates beautiful dresses and want to open my own dresses shop.”

Community volunteers want to support Phyu, and are discussing a plan to support part of the sewing training fees for Phyu from their community savings bank.

Phyu's once dark future is finally looking brighter, glittering with hope.