HAIR - we are all born with some and for most of us it will grow back if cut. But grasping the fragile tendrils of an education can be much more elusive, especially for the children of refugees.
Millen Primary School student Journey was easily recognisable by his extraordinarily long hair, going without a haircut for at least three years, but on October 23 the 11-year-old allowed it to be shaved off to raise funds to help educate Burmese Chin refugee children living in Malaysia.
Before a school assembly audience, the 11-year-old said goodbye to his long locks and within a week, his sacrifice had raised more than $1200 for the cause.
Journey visited the Chin refugees in Malaysia in July, seeing their struggles firsthand, and said: ‘I am doing this because I want the displaced children, like the Burmese Chin refugee children, who have so little compared to us, to have the chance to experience a proper education.’
The tax-deductible donations have been collected by MettaMorphosis: an incorporated non-profit charitable organisation that raises awareness and funds to help displaced children with no access to education.
Established by Journey’s mother Marilyn Metta in 2013, the charity will launch a documentary on the story of how the Chin community, mostly women and children, was forced to flee their west Burma homeland due to religious persecution.
Put together by Dr Metta, a Curtin University School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts lecturer, and filmmaker Chris Gosfield, the documentary is called How I Became a Refugee.
Dr Metta said Millen primary featured in a small section of the documentary, which she hoped to make available to schools to help students learn of refugees and the struggles they faced, even with things we take for granted, like education.
‘We are so proud of Journey,’ said Millen PS principal Stephanne Dann. ‘His efforts have taken a lot of courage and I congratulate him on his commitment to supporting students who aren’t as lucky as we are at Millen primary.’
Last year the school received an award from former WA Governor General Malcolm McCusker for its pen-pal exchange program with the Chin refugees in Kuala Lumpur.
NAME: Mettamorphosis Inc
BSB: 036 078
ACCOUNT NO: 623 958