October 6, 2020 at 11:11 pm · MBSPF · Comments Off on A Note from Sharon Brain
The 2020 Baw Nin Ywar Thit High School Project
A year ago, in July 2019, we heard from a long-time supporter of MBSPF. He and his wife have always been particularly interested in girls’ education and now they wanted to hear about the Baw Nin Ywar Thit village project.
I had visited this village in the hills outside of Heho on my first trip to Myanmar in 2012. We had made a bumpy landing after a bumpy flight from Yangon, and were met at the airport gate by Ernest Singh, our Kalaw area contractor. We drove straight to the village. It had rained hard and the soft dirt road was so muddy we finally had to get out and walk to the village. As we met with the chief and village elders to hear what they needed, I could see the circle of women and babies sitting off to the side, watching and waiting to see if these strangers from Canada might agree to build a primary school for their children.
We did decide to build there in 2013, and it was a very successful primary school. (in our minds, a school is successful when the villagers work well with our crew and volunteer to provide food and some materials during the building phase and when the government sends the teachers and when many children attend the school.)
Five years later we built a middle school in Baw Nin Ywar Thit. Children were coming from villages up to five miles away, a long walk each day to attend the middle grades. But our success created a problem. This last visit, in 2018, we could see they now needed a high school. But high schools are both expensive and rare, so we knew this school would draw students from an even wider area around the village. Where were these high school age students from distant villages to stay? While the boys could be accommodated at the local Monastery, the girls could not. They would need a girls’ residence if (as we fervently wish) the girls were to continue their education. A building was also needed to house the female teachers who live on the school site.
We are privileged to meet many fine people in our work. The Chief of 22 villages, U Nyo Aye, is from the Taung Yoe tribe. He is also secretary of Taung Yoe tribe culture and literature. Our contractor tells us that he works very hard for his people. We first met U Nyo Aye in 2012 on our first visit to Baw Nin Ywar Thit. He was instrumental in our decision to build the primary school there.
This trip, when we asked his opinion, he suggested that we stretch to try to build a girls’ residence to go with the new high school. The female teachers who would live on the school property could supervise them. We saw it would be an elegant solution for these female students.
Here he is explaining his proposal to Roger through a translator:
It was a great idea—but expensive. A high school was already stretching our resources.
And then! Since education for girls was the heart’s desire for these faithful donors of MBSPF, they offered to fund both the teacher’s residence and the residence for girls in addition to the high school! With happy hearts, we went ahead.
And now, the 2020 Baw Nin Ywar Thit high school project is completed. And we are all very satisfied.