For years we lost contact with Zeyar, but when we finally reconnected with him it took our breath away. He graduated from our education program at 10th grade, now as an adult, he has taken our model of educating and protecting children in armed conflict and is doing it himself! That is impact.
Impact is like a snowflake that ever-so-gently floats down and lands on a snowy mountaintop. It has the potential to shift the weight of the mountain, no matter how seemingly small. Snowflake after snowflake, impact after impact, a final snowflake shifts all the snow underneath it. Soon an avalanche is created changing the face of the mountain itself; it’s reformed by an impact that gained momentum and created a movement that affected everything in its path.
Our educational programs are a lot like an avalanche. We strategically take moment after moment, snowflake after snowflake, as our points of impact. Intentional education has the power to shift the course of a child’s life and the lives of everyone they encounter.
This type of change is blossoming through one our students that you sponsored in the Shan State region of Burma. Our intentional teaching began as the snowflakes in Zeyar’s education, and his decisions since have built the momentum that is now impacting those around him.
During our time teaching Zeyar, we were purposeful about how we could impact his life for the good–as we are with all of our students. We believe that there is value in investing time in relationships and expanding children’s knowledge through education. We believe that together these positive influences can break the toxic cycle of violence and restore hope to the community. These lessons cultivated in Zeyar’s mind.
Zeyar joined our education program at a very young age. He was a hard worker and fervently understood the opportunity that he had to attend school rather than being recruited into the militia. You see, going to school is not the norm in Zeyar’s hometown; the high cost and extreme distance of the local schools limit most children from being able to attend. As a beneficiary of our program, Zeyar was able to learn and grow in a safe environment, away from war and violence. Even now, Zeyar often expresses thankfulness for the opportunity to learn, and he has dedicated his life to use it for good.
Zeyar phased out of our program upon completing 10th grade. This education level is a considerable accomplishment for a student within Zeyar’s region. When he left to pursue a career, we had no way to communicate with Zeyar, but we were confident that his education and his character would make him stand out among others.
When Zeyar returned to his home city as a 21-year-old, our local staff was able to catch up with him. We learned of Zeyar’s life as a husband and as a provider. We knew that Zeyar would form an honorable life for himself, but his job blew us away! Zeyar has devoted his life to serving at-risk children. Currently, he cares for eight children whose fathers are militant commanders! He is pouring into children that are directly affected by the wages of war. Zeyar’s education is snowballing into an evident momentum because you worked with us to give one child a chance.
We asked Zeyar, “Do you want to say anything those who helped support you?” He immediately burst out, “I don’t know how else to say [besides] thank you to all of you for helping me… It’s hard to imagine what would have happened to me if you hadn’t stepped in!”