The school year has started for the middle school in the Malot village track. There is excitement in the air, as a new crop of students have entered the middle and high standards and others are moving on.

The middle school continues to serve ten different villages, with hundreds of students. The dedicated principal and teachers are sharing knowledge and helping fulfill dreams.

Our first high school Patrick J. Welsh scholarship recipient  Aung Myint Myat passed his examinations and will head to university known for its engineering at Ma U Bin in the Irrawaddy division. He wants to be a mechanical engineer. He spent two years studying in Bogalay town. He is the first person living in the village to head to university. His parents and the village are so proud of him – so are we!

This has inspired other students taking the tuition classes to study for their exams! There are now 20 students taking high school tuition classes in Ninth and Tenth Standards, sponsored by Project Malot with contributions from the community.

This school year (which began last month) the new scholarship recipient Nandar Tun is starting classes in Bogolay town in Ninth Standard , as her new journey in her education begins. She wants to be a medical doctor. Slowly and steadily opportunities are being created in the Malot track. The village has the highest number of boys and girls completing middle school in its history.

There is a sense of hope that mirrors some of the optimism in Myanmar generally. At the same time, there is the reality of difficult times for the community, who live in poverty with limited options. Of the 18 students that were interviewed for the scholarship earlier this year, each one of them has big dreams – of being a doctor, a mechanic, a chemist, and even an politician. Among those interviewed included Nargis orphans, and many children of farmers and laborers. Their answers in the interviews were inspiriting. They talked about Aung San Sui Kyi and her father Aung San as their role models. They spoke about the need to improve yields and reduce the debt of farmers. They highlighted the need to engage and listen to ordinary people.  It is the young that are the country’s future and these students showed considerable wisdom.

Thanks to the kind donation of Michela and my support for the Patrick j. Welsh Scholarship the school year has started off well with the scholarship and more than a third of the tuition fees paid for. We have also added new books to the library in Myanmar language.

We will be holding a fundraiser in Singapore on October 19thto raise some additional funding (Details will be posted). The goals are three-fold. We need a new ceiling for the middle school to address the heat in the summer months. We have estimated that this will cost USD$2357 (S$3006), depending on exchange rates. We are also hoping to raise additional funding for the tuition fees. The estimated cost for each student in the tuition classes is $USD170 (S$216). As incomes in the community are very low, for many less than USD$1/day, financial donations have an important impact. If funds permit, we may also give the school a new coat of paint. Don’t hesitate to be in touch if you would like to contribute as all the funds go directly to the school and students.