Fourteen-year-old Naw Klei Tha Paw and her friends have spent several tough days hiking through the rainforest-covered mountains of Burma. The children are from the Karen people, one of Burma’s many minority populations.
“We’ve brought copies of The Globe magazine in our own language, Karen, for our village schools,” explains Naw Klei. “Children from several schools and villages will then come together for the Global Vote. The Globe hike is a real adventure!” However, being in the forest also brings back difficult memories…
An important task
Through the World’s Children’s Prize and The Globe, I’ve learnt a lot about child rights. For example, that all children have the right to go to school. I didn’t know that before. I’m learning a lot by reading about the child rights heroes in The Globe. I’d like to be like them when I’m older. The Globe is excellent, and it felt like an important task to help bring the magazines here to the village, so that more children can have the chance to learn about their rights. It’s very much needed, as children have many problems here. Many adults don’t listen to children’s opinions. And many children from poor families don’t go to school – they have to work in their families’ rice fields instead. They will have tough lives as adults, as they haven’t been to school. Things are worst of all for us girls.
In my family, girls and boys are treated the same. But it’s often the case that families love their sons more than their daughters. Sons are seen to be worth more, and this is made clear in several ways. If the family is poor, it’s the daughter who can’t go to school. In some villages, girls as young as fourteen are forced to get married. The man pays for his wife, so poor families may sell their daughter to get money. That’s wrong. A child is a child. Only adults should get married. People also often talk disparagingly about girls, saying that we aren’t as good as boys, and that makes me sad and angry. In The Globe, we learn that girls and boys have equal value. If we can learn about our rights, I believe that we will grow into adults who treat their children better than today’s adults do.
A journey of adventure
The hike with The Globe magazines was an exciting adventure, and it took three days. My friends and I walked through the rainforest, climbed mountains, waded across streams and travelled on riverboats. Sometimes we stopped and rested, chatted and played. At night, we slept at the houses of the people in the villages we passed.
In the future, I’d like to become a teacher and teach children about important things. Then, I would certainly use The Globe in my teaching! c