“I am not going to school. I started to work here when I was 5 or 7 years old I think”.
My name is Pyep pyep. I am going to be 12 years old in a week. I work at Bogyoke Aung San market in Yangon. I am selling fans here every day of the week from 9am to 4pm. I am not going to school. I started to work here when I was 5 or 7 years old I think.
My home is so far away from here, it takes me around 40 minutes to get here. I take the bus. My brother works here too so we travel together. My brother is 19 years old.
I would love to go to school all the time but I have to work here. I have a teacher that teaches me at home and during holidays but I cannot attend school like all the other children. My teacher doesn’t ask me for money. The others children have to pay but not me. She likes me. I stopped attending school two years ago.
“In the future, when I am older, I want to own a business, I want to be the boss”
I like working here but just a little. It is hard. My mother thought that I should work and don’t go to school so I could support the household financially. My mother was a seller too and she started very young, younger than me. She was a very good seller and she taught me how to sell too. I don’t have a father. My mother had another husband and they had another child. And he left. This man was not giving money to my mother. So she sent me and my brother to work at the market. I had to start working to help my mother.
It is difficult to work here. My boss says that I am like a little boss. In the future, when I am older, I want to own a business, I want to be the boss. I want to have a business and sell clothes.
“The business is quite good but some days it’s bad. On good days, I can make around 20,000 kyatts“
I speak five languages: Chinese, Thai, Korean, Burmese and English. I learnt all those languages with my brother, because he had the chance to go to school a bit, and I also learnt at the market by talking with tourists. Now I know more languages than my brother and I am better at talking to strangers than him and at selling.
The business is quite good but some days it’s bad. On good days, I can make around 20,000 kyatts (12€/15US$). On bad days, I only make 5,000 to 8,000. There are many other children working here, just like me, but I am the youngest. Sometimes, I take a break and listen to music. At home I play music on my mother’s phone. But on my mother’s phone the music is so bad, she has bad tastes. But I can’t stop working for too long, I need to make money. I can’t play like normal children.
Now, if you want we can take a tour in the market.