The Chin State Academic Research Network, a project by TheHILLS Education, is raising money to kickstart a Higher Education scholarship fund for young aspiring students from Myanmar's Chin State.
Chin State is a predominantly Christian state rich in ethnic and linguistic diversity found in the North-West of predominantly Buddhist Burma/Myanmar. Chin State is one of the country's poorest region, and has lagged behind Myanmar’s overall economic development. Educational opportunities therefore are extremely limited.
Chin State is notoriously one of the most hard-to-reach regions of the country with high mountains that make access a continuing challenge, particularly during rainy season when landslides make travel to certain areas very dangerous or outright impossible.
In Chin State, one person out of two is a migrant. Among these are students, because in order to continue their education past middle school youth often have to leave their villages altogether. A lot of youth leave Chin State altogether when it's time for university.
The closest and preferred destinations are Kalay, right on the border between Chin State and Sagaing Division, Yangon, or Hakha, the Chin State capital.
[in this photo, a local school in Northern Chin State, Tonzang township]
THE HILLS Scholarship Fund will therefore support exceptionally bright young people from Chin State and immediate surroundings into Higher Education.
The selection process for the scholarship will be extremely competitive, as well as entirely transparent. The selection panel will comprise both local and international members among whom are educators, academics, and policy makers.
It is no understatement to say that Chin State has a determined and resilient population, in the face of decades of state-sponsored violence and lack of infrastructural development. It also boasts a varied and active civil society.
Chin State also has an unusually strong, exposed and educated diaspora that in part thanks to greater educational opportunities abroad are able to contribute to life back home. For example, their hard earned remittances play a significant role in an otherwise low-earning internal population. Many former migrants are returning to Chin State and bringing invaluable contributions and skills.
[in this photo, a view of Hakha, Chin State's capital]
The success of students from Chin State was recently highlighted by the New York Times in an article about a young student from Tedim who is now studying in the US.
The article details the impact made by the NYTime's 'Neediest Cases Fund' and the opportunities this opened for this young student.
You can read that article here:
The power of education cannot be overstated, and scholarships open doors for those who would otherwise not be able to pursue their dreams.
We ask that you join us in this journey. Share this fundraiser with your friends, family, and contacts. Consider making a small donation.
The amount needed to fund a student is very small, so even the tiniest donation will make a difference, so do not be shy to donate just a few cents even!
By joining our campaign, you will be included in regular updates about the scholarship programme, and will be able to follow the progress of the selected students.
The Chin State Academic Research Network was founded in 2017. It started simply as a platform to support local and foreign scholarly engagements with the region via a number of specific tools and methods, and has since evolved into a more wide-ranging project supporting education for aspiring students from Chin State and surrounding areas. It evolved into an organisation supporting access to education in Chin State, called TheHILLS Education.
The network boasts an innovative and multilingual educational social media presence with almost 1000 engaged followers, and a number of peer support partnerships. You can find out more about us by visiting our Facebook page at this link: https://www.facebook.com/ChinStateResearch/
In less than a year since its founding the network has already resulted in significant cross-pollination of ideas, approaches, participatory methodologies, and ethics. The network counts 46 member scholars and graduate students, and key achievements so far include an all-day panel series entirely focused on Chin State research at the 2nd International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies, an in-progress Special Issue of an academic journal on this topic, a multi-panel submission to EuroSEAS 2019, and more.
One scholarship will cover a years' tuition fees + accommodation and living costs. Renewal of the scholarship will be subject to satisfactory progress and related grades.
You can donate on this webpage with VISA card or in cash in both Hakha or Yangon. Just visit our website www.thehillseducation.com or check out our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ChinStateResearch/ and send us a message to organize cash donation.
As the fundraiser's organizer, I will be personally withdrawing the money myself in cash from London, and then taking it to Chin State.
On May 24, applications for the scholarship will officially open. Me and a trusted group of CSARN/TheHILLS volunteers will select the most appropriate candidates through a written test and an interview. Once two candidates have been selected, they will be given their scholarship money. Of the money raised 100% will go to cover the scholarships as we are all doing this as volunteers. Of the total amount raised, 50% will go to cover the tuition fees at Kalay University, and 50% will cover the selected students' living costs, such as accommodation and food. We do not anticipate having any funds left over whatsoever, but if we do these will be used for the candidates' mentorship programme (ie. we might cover costs for the two students attending a training event in Yangon ie. 20USD for bus + 20 USD for room and board).
- Paul Scullion
- Selami Sehsuvaroglu
Fundraising team: Chin State Academic Research Network (5)
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