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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 19:52 GMT
School Day 24: Burmese abroad
Composite image of Burmese school in Thailand and in India

Two schools for Burmese refugees - one in Thailand and one in India - linked up to discuss life as refugees and the struggle for access to proper education in foreign lands.

Exchange about their respective ethnic group's symbol

Pyi, 16, Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand: What is the symbol representing the Chin people and why?

Zahau, 15, ELT School, Delhi, India: It is the hornbill bird because it represents honesty. We are honest people.

Helon, 17, ELT School, Delhi, India: What is the symbol of Karen people?

Phaw, 14, Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand: It is Hpa-si, a ceremonial bronze drum. We like to play it during our festivals.

Question from Helon at ELT School, Delhi, India to pupils at Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand

Have any of you been to Chin state?

Rosy, 13, Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand: No, none of us has been there. Actually we'd like to go there very much. But it is not very easy to get there. It is not accessible. What about you Helon? Have you been to our Karen state?

Helon, ELT School, Delhi, India: No, I lived and studied in the Kalay township of Chin state only. I'd like to go to Karen state very much. I want to meet Chin people as they are our brothers and sisters.

Question from Rosy, Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand to Khawn, ELT School, Delhi, India

What is your favourite food?

Khawn, ELT School, Delhi, India: My favourite food is Arakan noodle soup. It is the food of Arakan ethnics. But I like it. We can buy some ingredients here in India.

Question from Saw, 12, Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand to the Chin students in India

Was it easy for you to get an education in Delhi?

Zahau, 15, ELT School, Delhi, India: Yes, it is easy for me because I am able to speak Hindi after living in India for a long time. What about you Saw?

Saw, Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand: It's easy for me, too, as I was born in Thailand and have been here for 12 years. I can speak Thai fluently.

Exchange about the English language

Pyi, 16, Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand: As all of you, my brothers and sisters, are in Delhi, I would like to know if English is important for you.

Khawn, 16, ELT School, Delhi, India: English is an international language and it is very important for us to have English language skills. It is a very important language for us Chin people. That is why we are attending the English Language School here in Delhi. What about little brothers and sisters in Maesot? What are you learning there?

Pyi, 16, Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand: Let me answer that question for all of us. English is very important for us, too. We have a native English teacher at our Hsa Htoo Lei school. So it is very good for us. Although my main interest is computing, I am learning English from him. We all know English is an international language. We are trying very hard to learn English language skills as much as we can.

Exchange about their respective homelands

Rosy, 13, Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand: I would like to ask all of you if you get homesick. Have you missed your homeland?

Thai India Burma map

Koblung, 18, ELT School, Delhi, India: Yes, I miss my homeland very much, I miss the people, the nature and the scenery. I was born in Tee Tain town on Chin state. I've been away since 1996, so I can barely remember it but I miss it so much.

Helon, 17, ELT School, Delhi, India: It's me Helon, my birthplace is Rangoon. I would like to go back there. I miss my friends. But I don't want to go back right now because my educational level is still low. I will fulfil my educational objectives first and then I will go home.

Zahau, 15, ELT School, Delhi, India: I was born in Mizoram, India. I want to go back to my homeland. And I want to see Chin state as well because I haven't been there.

Khawn, Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand: I was born in Tee Tain and want to go back there.

Mun, ELT School, Delhi, India: I was born in Tee Tain, too, and I want to return there. But I won't go back until I achieve my ambition. What about little brothers and sisters in Maesot, do you miss home and do you want to return there?

Pyi, Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand: I was born in Kawkayeik, Karen state. So I want to go back there. I miss Zwekapin hill of Karen state. It is so beautiful and I want to look upon the hillside all the time. But I can't go back there now. If we have democracy, I would like to go back.

Rosy, 13, Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand: I would like to go back to my birthplace. I miss Zawkapin mountain, too. But life was difficult there. Living conditions and education are not good. So I have to stay here.

Linn, Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand: I would like to go back to my homeland. If we have democracy, I will go back now!

Phaw, Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand: I was also born in Karen state. I miss Zwekapin mountain so much. The wind coming from the mountain is very cold. I miss it so much. But I can't go back now as lives for us is very difficult there. We can't exercise our rights there. So we have to stay here.

Saw, Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand: Although I was born in Maesot, Thailand I want to see our homeland, Karen state. My friends here talk about it so much so that I have to see it for myself.

Thank you and goodbye

Saw, Hsa Thoo Lei School, Maesot, Thailand: I am very happy to have had direct talks with my Chin brothers and sisters from Delhi. I would like to thank the BBC for arranging this.

Although we did not see each other face to face, I am so thrilled to have a forum on the radio. I am so proud of it.

Mun, 17, ELT School, Delhi, India: On behalf of all the Chin friends here, I would like to say that we are happy and thank you all for having a discussion on BBC radio.

Although we could not sit face to face, we are happy to talk to each other directly. I hope we can all meet up again in Burma. Thank you.


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