I’ve set up a monastic school a few years ago and to be honest, I knew nothing about Studer Trust, even the name, needless to mention their projects. To confess, I don’t have much knowledge about monastic school systems either. I found it solely because of the local’s needs and I felt that I was obliged to help.
It was last year, when I came to get to know more about Studer Trust via U Wimala, an abbot of Tar Pha’ and Wunn Khall school. He told me that Studer Trust has been helping many schools throughout the country and he was lucky enough to have 2 school buildings granted by the organization. He also said that they are about to hold an annual meeting and he would like me to join them as an observer.
At first, to be frank, I wasn't quite interested in participating the meeting. This is due to the fact that, as informed by U Vimala, all school buildings sponsored by Studer Trust are in the same design and lots of their parts are ready made to be assembled on site. Considering this criterion, our school would certainly be disqualified and there was little chance to win any grant. This is because, from the very beginning, our school buildings have been constructed in a more local style with local materials. This is, on one hand, to fit in with the surrounding environment and on the other, to retain the local architecture. This is our principle.
However, I did join the 5th Studer Trust’s abbot meeting in Inn Jell and presented our school introductory booklet as suggested by U Vimala. Only then, I have learnt that Studer Trust has been working hard in supporting schools in Myanmar. Other than buildings, they also support playground equipments, restrooms, scholarships and provide a Teacher Training Centre (TTC) etc. I can’t help but admire all their commitment and dedication in term of education. I did request a new playground instead of a school building.
To cut a story short, when the Studer Trust team were on their way to new school opening celebration in Kengtung, they paid a visit to our school too. I had a chance to explain why our school buildings were chosen to be built in local style, how the materials were recycled from communities and so on. To my surprise, the team agreed to grant one school building. And this building was virtually completed in September 2019 and it has been utilized ever since.
Some may say, I am lucky to have received the support from Studer Trust, as an exceptional case, but to me, it is a miracle. Thing happens when you least expected them to happen. To do exceptional thing, it needs a lot of courage and an open mind and in this case, the credit goes to the team. To a wider picture, Myanmar is a diverse country and we are different from one another. To recognize the diversity in Myanmar is vital because we live in a multicultural country. We can unite in diversity.