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Alumna working for child protection in Myanmar

Posted: 26 September 2022

Alumni, Education, Social inclusion,

Naw Purity has been engaged with protection-led organisations including for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UNICEF since 2009.

It was during her employment with UNHCR that her interest in child protection began. She was delivering reports on the most vulnerable refugee children, including separated and unaccompanied children, and women with protection concerns in refugee camps along the Thai-Myanmar border town called Mae Sot in Thailand until mid-2017, after which time she joined UNICEF Myitkyina Field Office in Kachin state as a Child Protection Officer.

“I have always desired to become an effective and inspiring leader who would bring positive and lasting social changes to communities in need.”

With this background in humanitarian work in child protection, family violence, refugee protection, and community services in Thailand and Myanmar, Naw Purity said she “believed that a higher education and international exposure to other cultures, technologies and contexts would allow [her] to contribute effectively.”

She went on to complete a Master of Social Work at The University of Melbourne in 2020 on an Australia Awards Scholarship.

Reflecting upon her course of study in Australia, Naw Purity said that the social work program “offered fundamental knowledge for understanding the critical aspects for social work practice, both at theoretical and practical levels, involving vulnerable children and youth in various communities [and] helped me to understand policies that have an impact on multiple communities, and how these policies could be modified to achieve long-lasting positive changes.”

Since her return to Myanmar in 2020, she worked with UNICEF as a national consultant on case management training packages and facilitated trainings together with partner organisations, providing technical support to develop a social work bill. However, this work had to be put on hold in February 2021.

Naw Purity then worked for an independent organisation as a humanitarian project manager in child protection emergencies where she led the delivery of child protection services in Rakhine State and is now working as a child protection adviser at a child-focused international development organisation where she provides technical support to the country program team.

Aiming to share her social work knowledge and skills she received in Australia back in Myanmar, Naw Purity also joined the newly opened school, Yangon School of Social Work, as a part-time teacher. She teaches a subject on basic counselling and interviewing skills for workers who are particularly working with children and families.

Naw Purity acknowledged, “The Australia Awards Scholarship helped me gain courage and self-confidence in what I do and who I work with. The knowledge I received in Australia has strengthened my skills in bringing new initiatives, establishing healthy working relationships, strengthening support networks for marginalised individuals and groups (particularly children and young people), and achieving positive and effective outcomes for them.”