Educational and Vocational Assistance Program

Former political prisoners face ongoing harassment and discrimination even after their release. Access to re-employment or continuing their education is greatly restricted because of their period of incarceration and the unjust criminal stigma attached to their charges. In the past, employers faced threats and intimidation if they employed former political prisoners. Relying on support from friends and family to find employment makes daily life difficult and negatively impacts the rehabilitation process. The programs aimed at former political prisoners provide academic education, vocational training, driving lessons and language courses. The reach of these programs has grown over the last year, reaching larger areas of Burma and a greater number of former political prisoners across the country.

The effects of incarceration are not limited to the prisoners themselves. Children and families of political prisoners lose access to schooling opportunities due to the lack of household income. Families often have to survive without their main source of income, ensuring that even basic schooling becomes unaffordable.

In 2013, a total number of 234 children of political prisoners have been provided with the means to enroll in primary and high school education. These scholarships help to cover the cost of school uniforms, school fees, learning materials and, in some cases, the cost of food and transport. Higher academic scholarships were provided for family members and older children of current and former political prisoners, providing for 34 people. In addition, 128 participants attended our computer training program and 46 received driving lessons.

As arrests of political activists continue into 2014, it is essential to ensure that the damage done to the families of former prisoners is mitigated to the greatest extent possible. Providing education to families and children of current and former political prisoners is a key component of AAPP’s assistance program.