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The passion of reading in a four-year-old girl is such that from Myanmar to India she crosses all the rain, rivers, streams, ponds, bridges and reaches school. This little girl reaches here by crossing international borders with heavy bags. Mangui is not the only one who reaches here, but there are 400 to 500 children like her, who do this effort every day. These problems of children have increased after the military coup in Myanmar.
The Mizoram Police keeps the gates open for these students daily from 7 am to 9 pm, so that the children can enter India. It takes an hour for the children to reach here on foot from their home.
Why are students going so far?
A violent military coup in Myanmar in February 2021 pushed the country into a blaze of violence. After this violence, many schools along the border of India were forced to close. The Champai district of Mizoram and the village of Khwamawi, across the border from Jokhawtar in Myanmar, are the only places still affected by the violence.
Military coup increased difficulties
After Kovid in April 2022, children started going to school again crossing the India-Myanmar International Border. According to the news published in Hindustan Times, Mangai’s mother Chinpui told that schools in Khwamawi are closed due to unrest and I do not want my daughter to miss studies so I got her admitted to St. Joseph’s School in Jokhawtar.
The number of students coming to Jokhawtar from Myanmar is not fixed. Sometimes this number goes up to 500. A Mizoram Police official said on condition of anonymity that 396 have come to India till 9 am on Thursday.
Once they enter India, these students attend nine government and private schools in Jokhawtar. In these schools they study not only with Indian students but also with refugees from Myanmar. These refugees have been living in camps in Mizoram for the past one year.
How did you get permission?
Signed in May 2018 for free movement between India and Myanmar, which allows tribal people living in border areas to cross the international border, travel up to 16 km without visa restrictions and with a simple permit.
Mizoram officials reported that more than 300,000 people live in 250 villages within 10 km of the border, often crossing the border through 150 formal and informal crossings, including the border town of Jokhawthar.
300 to 500 children go to India from Myanmar every day to study. (symbolic picture)
The principal of a private school in Jokhawtar told Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity that the children of Myanmar refugees are admitted to the school and they pay fees like any normal school.
However, Champai Deputy Commissioner James Lalrinchanna said that I do not have information about the students coming to India and returning. If this is happening then I think it is limited to just one place. When these children come to India, they are kept one level down.
children are reaching school
So there is also a government-run pre-primary school two kilometers away, where a large number of students go. There are eight teachers for 306 students, of whom 215 are from Myanmar and commute every day. Principal H Larikhuma said that the number of students increased so much that we had to create a new pre-primary section, where at present 97 students are studying.