Our Projects

Kyargayet School
Kyargayet Village, Daydaye Township, Irrawaddy Division, Lower Myanmar

Kyargayet Village is located in the Irrawaddy Delta. The village is on a low island surrounded by canals, creeks and muddy streams. To get there from Yangon one travels three hours by open truck on a broken road then boards a long tail motor boat for a further forty five minutes. The villagers are farmers and fishermen. It is a poor but healthy community with deep traditions and full of good humour. The villagers know each other well and have done so for generations. They do not hesitate to look after each other and to work together toward the welfare of their village. They built their own school building of 2,400 square feet with very limited savings in the great hope to give primary education to their children and the children from nearby villages.

Kyargayet School is the only school in the area – and serves to educate the children of seven villages. For the kids from the more remote villages getting to school meant paddling five miles a day in canoe during the rainy season, then when the rain stopped the creeks would get shallow and muddy and the the children would have to get out of the canoe and pull it by walking in the mud for long stretches. From December to April the mud would dry and they'd be able to walk to school – hopping from dyke to dyke. All that just to access a basic education. And no wonder the teacher never knew who'd turn up from day to day.

The traditional rhythm of life in Kyargayet has farmers up early and off to the paddy fields before dawn. They return home around ten 'o' clock for a bite to eat and a short rest, then they'd head back to the paddy until sunset. Providing children with a canoe and the need to prepare a lunchbox for them places an almost intolerable burden on their finances. So the result was that only very few of villagers ever graduated.

Cyclone Nargis devastated the Irrawaddy Delta in May 2008. Kyargayet Village was smashed by the strong wind. But luckily the Storm Surge did not get into their village and wipe it away – as happened to so many in The Delta.

In August 2008 we heard their call for help : We rebuilt the old school building then built an entirely new 1,250 square foot school building. We bought tables and chairs. To help restart the shattered village economy we gave piglets to the villagers that they could raise, and sell. And we are proud that this little business has continued to grow and is doing well.

From September 2008 we have paid two teacher salaries and provided stationary for the children. When budget constraints allowed we have also provided clothes and school uniforms. We bought four 18-foot canoes to ferry children to school from the other six villages that Kyargayet School serves. The result gave Kyargayet Village the confidence to apply to the Ministry of Education to recognize their school as a Middle School (to grade nine) and against all odds … they succeeded! Taking their first Grade Six candidate in 2008, Grade Seven in 2009, Grade Eight in 2010 and Grade Nine in 2011.

Thanks to our benefactors, the Parami Found is currently building a further two class rooms – each of more than 1,250 square feet. And from the 2011 academic year on, we are happy to say that more than 350 children will be getting an easier and better access to a basic education in Kyargayet School.

 


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