Close to the Burmese-Thai border, young Karenni refugees study desperately to gain acceptance into universities worldwide. But with talks of repatriation echoing through the camps, it’s unsure how long they are to stay there.
Located just across the Thai-Burma border, the Karenni National Community College (KNCC) sees some students ride for 45-minutes on motorbikes to get to school.
Nyereh flicks through his workbook, quickly revising before class starts. (PHOTO: Melanie Keyte/DVB).
Some of KNCC’s teachers are only one year older than their students, but with a scarcity of teachers, the Karenni college has little choice but to employ barely-graduated students.
Muyein’s English class is silent, as students concentrate hard on their work.
Students trade jokes and light-hearted jibes in the breaks between classes.
Elizabeth (Mimar) dreams of her small college being recognised as a proper university.
KNCC students must study English, mathematics, social studies and basic computer skills in addition to other electives.
Loki, one of the college teachers, helps a student with her classwork.
In the quiet lunchtime hour, KNCC’s teachers plan their next day’s lessons.
In addition to the standard mathematics, science and English courses, students take classes on ‘active citizenship’, which discusses the need for everyday people to engage in the nation’s political sphere, as well as social and community development.
Students study hard, hoping that their education at KNCC will help them gain admission to universities around the world.
In the college hostels, teens and young adults cook their own dinners using fresh produce from neighbouring farms.
Despite talks for repatriation to Burma, KNCC’s students are largely hopeful for a chance to continue their studies at university, and a better future for their home country.
Read the full feature story, as published with Democratic Voice of Burma here.