Stepmother physically abuses her five-year-old daughter in Three Pagoda Pass Border Town
December 18, 2014
A five year old child has been exposed to systematic beatings from her stepmother in Karen State’s Three Pagoda Pass, on the Thai-Burma border, according to a local high school teacher.
The child, Ma Yadanar Soe, is five years old, and attends the first grade at Three Pagoda Pass’s Basic Education High School. Ma Yadanar Soe and her eight-year-old brother live with their stepmother, Daw Nge Nge, in U-Daung Kan Ward, Three Pagoda Pass.
The young girl’s face is visibly swollen, and her mouth is lined with ulcers due to Daw Nge Nge’s repeated strikes with rubber bands. The child will not speak about the abuse in front of her stepmother, however, when she was not in Daw Nge Nge presence, Ma Yadanar Soe stated, “I don’t want to live with my [step]mother. I just want to live with my grandmother. My mother beats me with a stick; she struck my mouth with [a] rubber band.
The mother claims that the children are her son and heir, and refuses to allow them to leave her house.
“I have to ask my mom’s permission to live with my grandmother. Since she officially adopted me [as her heir], her permission is a must,” said Ma Yadanar Soe’s elder brother.
In June, 2014, Ma Yadanar Soe’s father signed an agreement with Daw Nge Nge, allowing her to officially adopt the two children. Since the children came into her care, Daw Nge Nge has reportedly beaten them.
A staff member from the Border Health Initiative (BHI) accompanied Ma Yadanar Soe home from school to inquire as to why Daw Nge Nge has beaten the child. The staff member advised Daw Nge Nge the she should not beat the child, however, the child continued to be beaten the next day and was kept home from school. Ma Yadanar Soe’s elder brother is currently continuing his studies in Grade 1.
“I do not think the mother will send the child to school,” said the BHI staff member, “she did not adopt the children because she is kind, she adopted them because she wants to exploit their labor when they grow up. She even blamed the children in front of me; the children were trembling with fear. I suggested that she give her children to a support group if she isn’t able to look after them, but Daw Nge Nge did not accept my suggestion.”
Daw Nge Nge, 30, previously worked as a sex-worker in Three Pagoda Pass, and now sells goods and alcohol, along with owning and operating a slot machine center. Daw Nge Nge is a widow, and lives with her three-year-old niece and two of her stepchildren – Ma Yadanar Soe and her older brother.
Ma Yadanar Soe’s parents, U Shwe Maung and Daw Ei Ei Maw are Burmese Buddhists; the mother died of AIDS in this year, leaving her husband with two sons and two daughters. U Shwe Maung struggles to earn a living as a manual laborer and lives only with his youngest daughter, while sending one of his sons to live with his mother and the two other children to live with Daw Nge Nge; the whole family lives in Three Pagoda Pass. After learning of Daw Nge Nge’s actions, the grandmother wants to take her grandchildren to live with her.