Assignment: Draw a map of the different places you’ve lived, starting with where you were born, and ending with where you live now. Label each place with it’s location or who you lived with there, and place it on the map.
This week, I followed up with the pervious mapping activity (see Assignment Two: “My Community”), only this time asking the children to expand the scale of their maps. Instead of focusing on one community, this assignment asked the children to map the different places they have lived since they were born- thus creating a map of their migration experiences.
For children born in eastern Burma, extensive migration is the norm. A report released in 2010 entitled Displaced Childhoods explains:
A generation of the country’s children have been scarred by death, destruction, loss, and neglect at the hands of Burma’s military. For over four decades, Burma’s military government has forced children from their homes and villages, subjected them to extreme human rights violations, and largely left them to fend for their survival in displacement settings without access to basic provisions or humanitarian services.
Since 2002, Free Burma Rangers (FBR) has independently documented over 180 incidents of displacement, and for the last 14 years both Partners and FBR have provided lifesaving humanitarian service to thousands more. From 2002 to the end of 2009, more than 580,000 civilians, including over 190,000 children, have been forcibly displaced from their homes in Eastern Burma alone.
An estimated one to three million people live as internally displaced persons (IDPs) throughout Burma. As many as 330,000 to 990,000 of the displaced are children.
These statistics are certainly true for my students, regardless of their reasons for leaving their homes. From this activity, I learned that my students averaged four homes before coming to their current one (a boarding-type home for students attending a local school). While all students generally started out life in a traditional family home, other “homes” children included on their maps were varied- from grandparents’ homes, to churches and monasteries, to school homes.
In the following posts, I’ve included quite a few of the children’s responses to the “Migration Map” prompt, as well as their own captions or narratives about the picture or map they drew.