We first came to the village of Yge Nge, just outside of Pyin Oo Lwin, in 2010. In the hills and only an hour of winding road from Mandalay, this is an area with a long history and for us Westerners, the blessing of a cooler climate. We built a five-room primary school here and also refurbished a two-room school. When we visited again in 2012, we saw that they were now in need of a six-room building so they could have a middle school. The number of students has increased from 444 to 506-a good sign. Because they have a large school property (an unusual situation in crowded Myanmar), there were many discussions with the teachers and villagers about where the school would best be built. Maung Maung Gyi, our Mandalay contractor, also insisted that we relocate the toilets so that the overflow would no longer run through the schoolyard during the rainy season.
This school is close to our hearts because it is the school for 22 blind children from the region as well as for the students from the local villages. The villagers and teachers are willing participants in the building and every project we have done at this site has been successful.
When we returned in 2013, the new building was near completion, with only the classroom dividers, blackboards and desks still to be put in place. We gave uniforms to all the children to celebrate the opening of their new Middle School.