The handover ceremony took place with great pomp. Not only had all the children, their parents and the rest of the village gathered to ceremoniously open the school, but our team had also arrived from the country office in Ragun as well as representatives of the local administration and school authorities. For the speeches there was even a stage set up.
Difficult learning conditions for 400 children
A very special moment was the handover for the director U Khin Maung Kyi. After 48 years of work he had almost given up hope that the misery in his school, which was bursting at the seams, would change fundamentally. For years he, the staff and the parents had fought with the limited means of their own to ensure that the children of the village were taught despite the difficult spatial conditions. That is why they were taught in two shifts. Furthermore, the parents had built additional provisional learning rooms together with the teachers on their own initiative. But there was always a lot of noise because there were no real walls and the classes were only separated by blackboards.
New school building including water and sanitation facilities
Now there is a new, solidly built school building in Hmu Tan. A rainwater collection tank stands next to it and supplies the school community with water. An additional water filter was installed. Moreover, arche noVa provided gender-separated school toilets. Soon the walls of the WASH area will be painted with pictures that call for good hygiene behavior in a child-friendly way.
U Khin Maung Kyi's biggest wish is that the educational situation in Ann Township will improve for even more children. The remote region in the Rakhine state of Myanmar has a lot of catching up to do. Not only is the infrastructure still in ruins after 50 years of military dictatorship, but Ann Township is still isolated on a mountain range, far away from the nearest cities, and is thus often left out of government programs.
Unstable project region
Our project takes place under difficult conditions. Not all project villages in which we work are accessible to international staff at all times. Occasionally, the responsible authorities order compulsory breaks in the activities. Time and again there are tense conflict situations in this multi-ethnic state. Our programme is geared to the most urgent needs and to what is technically feasible in terms of security.
What our local team is doing to improve living conditions in Rakhine State can be read in our project description.