In gorgeous sunny weather, across the bumpy roads and the Irrawaddy River, I visited the Malot village track this November. The purpose of the trip was to deliver the funds to build a new ceiling for the school, support minor repairs and a fresh coat of paint and provide additional support for the tuition fees raised from the October fundraiser. We are set through the end of this school year. I had an opportunity to meet the village committee, sit down with the teachers and headmaster and, importantly, connect with the students. Each visit I am reminded of how important this outreach effort is and how slowly but surely we are helping a community foster opportunities.
The two scholarship recipients to attend high school, Aung Myint Myat and Nandar Tun, have taken full advantage of the chance to attend school in Bogolay town. Myint Myat graduated last year and is currently helping out his parents in the farm as it is harvest season. He will attend university this December and study physics (a small change from engineering). His parents cannot afford the fees for him to attend university in Ma U Bin, so I have extended his support to include his first few years in university. His ability to attend university will serve as an example for others in the community. Nandar Tun boards full time in Bogalay along with 30 other students from the Delta. She is currently in 9th standard, the equivalent of 11th grade. She is thriving, making new friends. Her favorite subject is mathematics.
In Malot village there are 15 students studying high school with teachers brought in from outlying areas. They are preparing hard for their first exam, scheduled for later in the year. The village has created a small open covered area for them to study.
In the middle school, there are 214 students, with another 200 in the primary school. The challenges include a shortage of teachers and limited teaching materials. Over the next year we are looking for additional material to help the teachers, including exploring opportunities to partner with them in enhancing English capacity.
Fundraising for the next year will begin soon. We aim to sponsor two students in high school (Nandar for her second year) and a new recipient who will be chosen through interviews tentatively next April. We also aim to contribute US$1,500 to support the tuition fees for students (the community pays half) as well as raise funds for the construction of two needed new latrines – an estimated cost of US$1,800 – to improve sanitation near the school.
Thanks for all your support. Your contributions are making a difference!