Building schools in the remote and poor villages in Myanmar has always been Studer Trust's core mandate. The Studer Trust local staff conducted several visits in those areas to identify the schools that needed help with their school buildings.
Education levels in the Naga Self-Administered Zone still lag far behind most other parts of Myanmar even though local residents said that education in there had improved significantly in recent years, particularly since economic and political reforms began in 2011. The 2014 census, for example, found a literacy rate of 66.7 percent in Leshi Township, compared to 20.6 percent in neighboring Lahe (the average for Sagaing Region was 93.7 percent). (https://frontiermyanmar.net/en/catching-up-with-the-lowlands-education-in-the-naga-hills)
Poor transportation and limited access has resulted in a severe lack of basic infrastructure for economic and social developments, such as public schools, hospitals, railways, road transport, communication and banking.
The need for a school building and toilets for Yan Nway School were requested by Yan Nway community and U Kyaw Htay, a Member of Parliament (Upper House), Leshi township. This request was closely and carefully assessed by Studer Truat manager. A needs analysishas been undertaken in January and November 2018. During the visit, Studer Trust team had an excellent meeting with the community and the school committee and clearly witnessed the need of the school building and therefore, Studer Trust decided to support the school building in 2019 academic year.
The school is located in Yan Nway village, Leshi township, Naga Self-Administered Zone as stipulated by the 2008 Constitution of Myanmar, consisting of 3 townships, Leshi, Lahe and Nanyun in Sagaing region. It is undoubtedly one of the most forgotten, isolated and least developed areas in Myanmar. Most residents are farmers and grow rice, orange and tealeaf.
In August 2019, Studer Trust operation manager and 2 crew heads visited to school for pre-construction meeting with the school and the community. The team arrived to Homalin from Mandalay by flight. Homalin has a small domestic airport and currently only one airline is flying from and to Homalin on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, Sunday. The direct flight to Homalin HOX was a 230 mile (370 kilometers) nonstop route from Mandalay MDL. This direct flight took around 1 hours and 10 minutes and is operated by Myanmar National Airlines. The team this time took the flight via Monywa and stopped overnight in Homalin in a local guest house.
The only way to wake up at the guest house is around 4:00 AM to catch upa long, slim, low-slung, noisy and powerful boat. The boat is scheduled to leave Homalin heading for Hta Man Thi at 5:00am.Public boats on the Chindwin river make numerous stops at small towns and villages, bits of which can sometimes be seen up on the bank. Any number of people will be get on or off, goods may come or go, there may be a few minutes to hop off and have a very quick look around. We arrived in Hta Man Thi where the team got off around 10:30 AM. The boat made its lunch stop and wait number of passengers here for half an hour. There were a few Indian Jeep, public bus, commuting to and fro Hta Man Thi to Leshi and Indian border daily. Yan Nway school is about 19km away, 45 minute drive from Hta Man Thi village. We could hired 3 motor cycles after waiting about an hour for motor cycle repairing and exploring the local products for construction. We hired motor cycles to reach the school earlier to spent more time at the school. The buses were waiting there about another 2 hours for passengers those coming down from the river from Khamti.
On the team arrival at the school, the teachers, community leaders and the village fire fighter team welcomed with big smiles. Teachers prepared very delicious local lunch. Later, in the afternoon presented by a Member of Parliament U Kyaw Htay, the school committee, village elders, teachers and Studer Trust team sat the meeting for school building construction supported by Kadoorie Charitable Foundation. U Kyaw Htay convinced the community to support the school construction and pleased to Studer Trust for making a big change for his community. Studer Trust manager explained how and when the construction will start and end. And discussed the details of construction, materials deliver status, needs of community supports and future follow up plans. Negotiated the price of local products such as wood, brick, sand and gravel and set the time to be delivered at the site and payment condition as well. Attendants were actively participated and they were very happy to receive a grand new school building with their cooperation. An elder committed that the community will try the best to complete the project with their efficient supports. And he mentioned this donation is the greatest present from the God to their community they ever received from the outside. Later, the team and the attendants moved to the ground field where the new school building will be built and discussed for the preparation of the land and excavation works before the construction start in November 2019. The team overnight stop at the school where there has no light at all but community believe that their education light will be brighter in near future.
Finally, by the support of the Kadoorie Charitable Foundation, the Studer Trust could make a big change for Yan Nway school and its community. Studer Trust is very grateful to its donor, the Kadoorie Charitable Foundation, for its generous support, without which none of this important work in this community would be possible.