New Numbers, New Hope

Maung and multiple translations of the numbers we write as 9 and 10
Maung and multiple translations of the numbers we write as 9 and 10

Last month, I drove down to Cambridge to deliver the latest pieces in our work to help indigenous children in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.

My collaborator, Maung Nyeu, displays the carvings I recently completed–the numbers 9 and 10 in Mro, Marma, Chakma and Bangla. These will go on the doors of the Grade 9 and 10 classrooms in a school where minority children can learn in their own languages.
The significance of this handover (which took place in the library of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where Maung is working on his PhD) is that the schools Maung helped to create have now grown to the point where children are staying on into the ninth and tenth grades–an extraordinary fact in an area where only about 2% of children complete their education in conventional schools where instruction takes place only in the national language, Bangla.
Our next goal is to create a multi-language pictorial dictionary for schools in the Hill Tracts.
This collaboration is helping to change the lives of hundreds of children, and potentially saving the indigenous cultures of the region.
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