Prioritizing the Library

Ohn Hmin village partnered with Shanta Foundation in 2019 and is situated in the Pauk township within the restricted military zone with minimal access to essential services. Nonetheless, with two more years remaining in the partnership with us, they are successfully creating a path out of poverty by identifying numerous projects to complete with the help of our support staff in Myanmar.

Ohn Hmin chose a school library as a priority upon the partnership and immediately created a plan, incorporating input from the Village Development Team and teachers. Like all our projects, villagers participate in every step of the process, from planning to implementation through discussion, cash from their savings, materials, and labor.

Upon completion of the school library, an initial allotment of books and supplies was provided by the government. A Library Fund was established, as well as a Library Committee that received our training then could plan activities and manage the use of the library.

Shortly after completion of the library, COVID, followed by the military coup, closed schools for two years. Committee members devised a creative solution and took all the books to their homes- creating “satellite libraries” where children could still check out books even though the school was closed. The library was the only avenue for children to access books, knowledge, and a small semblance of academic life during a very difficult time.

“I borrow books every two day and I borrowed around three books every time. My friends do the same so that we share what we read. My mother encourages me a lot for reading. I prefer the books about geographical knowledge. In the past, I helped my mother in household chores and played with my friends during holidays. Now, I can also read books in my free time. Our library is not beautiful now though it has many books and I want to have a nice and eye-catching library someday,” Sabai Phyu, grade 6 student shares.

Children have returned to school, and the library continues to thrive with nearly 500 books in its inventory. Someday, Ohn Hmin village wants to build a new facility to house the library, and with their steadfast commitment to ending extreme poverty in their village, we know they will successfully complete this structure, using money from the interest earned in their Library Fund.

“Current library building was built with local materials such as bamboo so that it won’t be good for long run. We plan to build the proper and stronger one in very near future and we can manage with interest of the library fund and villagers’ contribution as they know the value of library a lot,” U Aye Win, VDT leader, explained about the plan.