Why Zomi Education Center?
Like all children in Malaysia, Zomi children have the fundamental right to life, survival and development to the maximum extent possible. However, living in exile, Zomi refugee children are often denied normal childhoods. Worries make everyday activities, like playing outdoors, difficult. Refugee children in Malaysia also do not have access to formal education.
In Malaysia, there are thousands of Zomi children below the age of 18. It is estimated that only approximately 60% of these children have access to any kind of education. This means over 40% of Zomi children of school going age are not in school.
Unable to access formal education, Zomi Association of Malaysia established Zomi Education Center (ZEC) which organizes Learning Centers for the children, and these are often held under resource-scarce conditions.
ZEC Learning Centers are education classes that are run by the communities themselves, with some support from the local community. These community-based learning centers are located within the refugee population, wherever there are Zomi communities with a large number of children of school going age. The scope and reach of these classes are largely restricted by a lack of resources, including qualified teachers. Classes are usually held in rented flats or shop houses, where rooms are converted into classrooms, and are largely overcrowded, lacking in basic teaching facilities and with no space for children to play.
However, every Zomi volunteer teachers have tried their best in setting up Learning Centers even with limited resources.
Education remains one of the most important concerns for refugee parents. It is the hope they have that their children will have a chance for a better life. The lack of basic education among refugee children will become a handicap for them as they grow up. It inhibits their opportunities to better their lives, creating a generation of an illiterate/unskilled community. The objective of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives, so they may aspire for a life different than today.