Our Projects

Tharyargone School

Kanthaya Quarter, Thanhlyin Township, Yangon Division, Lower Myanmar.

Tharyargone School is located just forty five minutes drive from Yangon across the Thanhlyin River Bridge. The school was started by the Venerable Buddhist Monk U Candima in May 2005 – initially in the basement of his wooden monastery building and then in a small hut in the monastery compound.

The impetus to start the school was provided by the living conditions in the shanty town that surrounds the Tharyargone Monastery. The community that lives there is very poor. It is not your usual Myanmar countryside village surrounded by paddy fields that has existed for many generations where the people treat each other with deep respect. It is a narrow strip of wetland of a lake shore into which transient people have moved – a temporary abode while they seek something better in life. The community is now permanent and notorious for its poverty, ignorance and deep resignation. Illiterate, irresponsible and occasionally violent.

The work open to the men is humping heavy loads at the jetties that line the Thanhlyin River, in the local market and more recently on construction sites in Yangon City. The women are mostly hawkers – walking from one street to other with a tray of seasonal fruits or vegetable on their head. Selling what they can. Even the teenagers work – as waiters in a tea shops and as general workers paid pittance in a factories.

Early in the morning with a tin box of cold rice the men and women set off for work. Returning after dark with their daily wage and maybe some rice to be cooked for dinner. Until recently the children were left at home to fend for themselves. They wandered around, played, argued, fought, swam in the nearby lake and climbed up trees. Older children were expected to look after their younger siblings but really did. There were children everywhere and they were always hungry. Some came to the monastery after the monks’ lunch time and stared at the food. The Monk wanted to rescue the children from being street kids by keeping them in his monastery and by giving them a basic education. So he started the school and he let the children to bring their toddler siblings with them to the school. And so it grew.

We firsts got involved in March 2006. We built entirely the 5,300 square foot two-storied school building, bought chairs and tables, built a proper toilet blocks, dug a water well and put the water pump and water purification system. We pay all the teacher's salaries, provide stationery, text books, cloths and school uniform, and organize capacity building workshops for the teachers. Since October 2007 we have given lunch to the children on every school day. The school offers education from grade one to eight (for children from 5 to 13 years old).

In addition we give hygiene talks to the children and run a weekly Charity Clinic in the school compound.

From June 2010 those children that graduated from Tharyargone School and were eligible to continue the High School, were sponsored by the Parami Foundation – all expense were paid by us to go to the next step. Usually children are forced into work at 14 years old so this sponsorship has been crucially important – and is only undertaken with parental consent without which they could be taken away at any time.

We have lost a few children at grades seven and eight to factories and tea shops : Parents take their children's salary from employers in advance and so the child is forced to work in spite of wanting to continue in school. Other luckier children work only during their summer holiday – they fish in the lake, help their mothers sell steamed beans in the early mornings or they wonder around heaps of rubbish collecting plastic, bottles, cans and paper for re-sale. There are many stories about these children.

Because of our support to this school and community more than 300 children get access to a basic education free of charge. Dozens of street kids are turned into students and hundreds of children are free from malnutrition. The children and their families have access to free Health Care and medicines through our weekly Charity Clinic. We are also in the process of setting up a library.

Supported by Parami Foundation from 2006 to 2017