Another year of The Esther Project has commenced, with 6 locations serving 29 orphanages and over 200 children. We have returning students, some for their 3rd and final year, as well as many first-year students, in addition, we have launched a test program to measure the effectiveness of a new teaching method to accelerate the speaking skills of our students.
Two of the new centers are located in the Shwe Pyi Thar Township, an area of extreme poverty by any measure. We understood that launching centers in Shwe Pyi Thar, will present difficulties that we have not had to deal with in our other locations, and immediately in Shwe Pyi Thar, it was uncovered that not only do our students not have any English skills (as was expected) but many of them do not speak the national language of Burmese, they instead speak their tribal language. Fortunately, our instructors are fluent in the tribal language as well and as a result, our instructors will undertake not only the task of teaching English but also the native language of Burmese to these children.
As a result, we are altering our lesson plans and methods to encompass both Burmese and English for these children. While the single most important skill to have in Myanmar to escape generational poverty is English, it is equally as important that these children are taught the national language if they are to be able to communicate with everyone in their country.
For citizens of countries that are more developed, it is almost unimaginable to be born, raised and live in your country without being able to speak the native language, unfortunately such is not the case for many of the children who come from the remote villages in Myanmar, placing yet another roadblock in front of them in their quest to escape the poverty that grips them.