On a sunny day in the small village of Thanlyin Township, Myanmar, a boy named Phone, 13 years old and in the 7th grade, always rides his bike with a big smile. He's spreading the word to other children in the village about an upcoming child’s group meeting.
What truly sets Phone apart from the other children is his strong desire to make his village better, even through his small acts of kindness. His journey of contributing to his village began in 2014 when he joined the World Vision Sponsorship Programme. He expressed, "The child development programme of World Vision has opened up opportunities for me that I never even dreamed of.”
Phone became an important member of the child group in his community, and he stepped up as World Vision’s child representative for Thanlyin Township. Naturally, he got involved in group activities, holding meetings every weekend and working hard to bring their plans into action including a community cleaning project.
He explained, "The community cleaning project aims to create a cleaner and healthier environment for the children in our village. We clean up and pick up the trash on the road every week."
Phone's commitment went even further. He regularly joined World Vision awareness training workshops on child rights, child protection, safety online practices, and reproductive health. As a child representative, he not only attended numerous children's forums organised by the World Vision National Office but also put forward requests to address challenges related to child nutrition and health to the local World Vision leaders, striving to fulfil the heartfelt wishes of the children in his village.
Phone's mother noticed a remarkable change in him after he joined World Vision. He used to be shy, but now he has grown into a confident speaker, and his social skills have greatly improved. His involvement in the child group taught him valuable life skills like teamwork and communication that will help him in the future.
Through World Vision's online safety training, Phone gained essential skills to safeguard himself and use the internet wisely for his education. But he didn't keep this knowledge to himself; he was always eager to share and educate those who might be vulnerable, especially the elderly. Previously, the older folks in his area easily fell into the traps of online financial scams since they lacked digital literacy and felt uneasy using electronic devices.
He mentioned, "I explained about the tricks scammers could use and how to stay safe on the internet. I also shared knowledge about digital literacy and child rights with my friends and other children outside the World Vision network."
Phone has a deep understanding of child participation as well. Once, when his friends hesitated to allow a boy with a stuttering speech to participate in a storytelling competition, Phone stepped in.
With conviction, he argued, "I truly believe that every one of us has the same rights. Giving this stuttering boy a chance could boost his confidence and help him overcome his speech issue."
Phone's determination and persuasive skills won over his friends, and they eventually agreed to let the boy participate.
Today, Phone is the secretary of the child group in his village. When the president and vice president of the group aren't around, he takes charge with confidence. Phone's story is not only heartwarming but also a great example of a young boy making a big difference with his tiny actions in his small village.
Since October 2018, the Thanlyin Area Programme has been diligently implementing various technical projects for the betterment of the community. In this fiscal year (FY23), these initiatives have reached and benefited a substantial number of registered children (RC) and their parents. Specifically, 539 RC children, comprised of 289 girls and 250 boys, have received essential training in child-safe digital practices. Additionally, 300 RC children, with 160 girls and 140 boys, have been educated in life skills awareness. Furthermore, 194 RC children, 107 girls, and 87 boys, have gained valuable insights into health awareness related to reproductive health. Notably, the programme has also conducted parent meetings, engaging 1,319 RC children's parents (1,100 women and 219 men).