In Myanmar, Burma, Diaconia has recently helped renovate five schools that are attended by over five thousand students in total. Education is crucial to them. It is their ticket out of the poverty they are currently living in with their parents.
This is the case with Shwe Hla Sein, an 11-year old girl attending the sixth grade of elementary school at Maruk, Arakan region. She has five siblings, three of whom are attending the same school as her. The parents are very supportive of their children’s education, although it is beyond anything they can afford. The whole family lives on the proceeds from their little village farm.
It often used to happen that the children would not arrive for school at all. Not because they didn’t want to, but because the school premises were uninhabitable. They were makeshift buildings made of bamboo and during the rainy season (which can last from May to October in the tropical Myanmar) they would leak heavily. Decent toilets, as well as paved roads, were also missing.
Diaconia provided the necessary aid to help renovate the buildings, the most important step being the construction of appropriate sanitary facilities. The school attended by little Shwe Hla Sein with her siblings had to be completely rebuilt: a new building in which children can study all year round, regardless of the weather, was constructed. Apart from newly furnished classrooms, it also has a drinking water reservoir, which did not use to exist on the school’s premises.
Shwe Hla Sein’s parents also very much appreciate that all their school-aged children and each of their classmates received the necessary school equipment (a uniform, slippers, an umbrella, notebooks, pens and pencils and other equipment), as well as a basic hygiene package (soap, nail clippers, a comb, a towel, a toothbrush and toothpaste) from Diaconia.
Diaconia is participating in the Myanmar projects together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and the Lutheran World Federation Myanmar organisation.