In our partner village of Khun Dong, only one male has an education up to grade 11, and not one single female has an education beyond grade 4. Parents know the value of education, but have had to deal with the difficulty for years of not having schools in the villages for their children to attend, nor a government willing to build schools and provide teachers. In the past two years, through the generous support of donors and the hard work of the village, a preschool, primary and middle school have been built. After the completion of the middle school in 2015, the next step was for the head mistress of the primary school to apply to the Myanmar government for the middle school to be approved. She didn’t do it, and didn’t do it, and didn’t do it, despite our staff requesting that she complete the application, and the village talking with her. Despite her reticence, our staff continued to support the villagers and provide them with the confidence to be persistent in approaching the headmistress and demand she do her job. After over a year of prodding she applied, and the school was approved!
We are happy to announce that the school opened this July and there are 14 students attending Grade 5 (the government adds a grade each year, so next year the school will have Grade 5 and 6). Many students from Khun Dong and smaller surrounding villages who moved away to board at monastery schools in order to attend middle school are now able to attend school in their home village, allowing them to be with their family and saving their parents money.
Change and development take time; simply building a school or completing a program doesn’t ensure that it will be successful or used by the village. That’s why, during our partnerships, we support, mentor, and trouble-shoot with the villagers to ensure they are invested and learning, and that each project meets their need. That’s why our unique six-year commitment to each village is so essential to the success of our programs and the long-term ability of our partner villages to thrive.