Saw Wah is a 14-year-old grade six student from Burma. Saw Wah lives with his parents and five younger brothers in a village in Hpapun Township in Karen State where there is a lot of unrest currently. Saw Wah’s father works as a day labourer when there is no work on the farm. Saw Wah’s youngest brother is too young to enroll in school while his four other brothers stopped going to school this last year.
Saw Wah shared, “They do not want to attend school because fighting happens very often in this area. We have to run and hide in the jungle where we study and they do not like to study in the jungle.”
Saw Wah’s family also raises chickens and two goats for their own consumption. They also often go fishing and forage for vegetables in the jungle. Even though his family does not have a regular income, they can gather enough food. Saw Wah’s family receives free basic healthcare at a free clinic near their village.
Around 2018 or 2019, Saw Wah developed a runny nose with yellowish nasal discharge. At first, he thought that this was normal, and it would go away on its own. Towards the end of April 2022, Saw Wah nose became blocked, and he could no longer breath through his nose. He finally told his parents about his symptoms and his father took him to the free clinic at Ei Tu Hta Internally Displaced Camp.
At the clinic, the medic checked Saw Wah’s nostrils and told them that there is mass blocking the nasal passage in both of his nostrils. The medic also recommended Saw Wah go to a larger hospital for further investigation. At this time, Saw Wah has to breathe through his mouth which causes him discomfort. He has lost his sense of taste and smell, and has a hard time sleeping. Due to these symptoms, Saw Wah has had to stop his studies while he receives treatment. Saw Wah worries that it will take a while, and he will not be able to study this year.
Fortunately, Saw Wah sought treatment through our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). Now he is scheduled to undergo mass removal surgery on September 6th. BCMF is fundraising $1,500 to cover the cost of Saw Wah’s procedure and care.
Saw Wah shared, “I am excited to receive surgery and I hope that I will be able to breath through my nose after surgery.”