The New Mayangone Village Middle School

At Su Hta Village and Thay Yar Yu Village we have recently opened two primary schools for the students.  At Mayangone Village, however, things are a bit different.  The village is larger and somewhat less remote than the other two and already have one of the open plan primary school building.  The problem here was that there is no middle school for the students to go to once they’ve finished primary education.

Our effort here will therefore be to support the construction of a middle school for the kids to further their studies.  In February 2017 our Vice-Chairman Kevin Cheng has joined Ms. Winnie Wong (our partner at the Hong Kong Christian Council) and their local engineer representative at the negotiations with government officials for the school.  Approval for the school was granted earlier in the year and the meeting determined the funding and execution details of the project.

Construction of the Mayangone Village Middle School in Myanmar soon began. Progress photos below are from various visits by the local partners of the Hong Kong Christian Council.  In the few months since February the foundation has been laid.  The frame for the building has gone up and the walls are being built. The steel beams to support the roof has also arrived to be erected. If all goes well, the roof should be up before the rainy season.

This school is supported by proceeds from the Learners Orchestra and the Learners Chorus’ recent concert 10 May x 10 Years: A French Celebration and our next concert in September.

Mayangone netogation

Negotation with government officials alongside the HKCC’s local partner – an experienced engineer who will help to monitor the progress of the project.

Mayangone negotiations

Ms. Winnie Wong of Hong Kong Christian Council making a speech after the negotiations concluded.

Mayangone negotiations

The execution details for the Mayangone Middle School are determined. A deal was made! Our engineer partner shakes hand with a local representative.

Mayangone Gorundwork

Construction began in March 2017. Ground works being carried out.

Mayangone groundwork

Construction began in March 2017. Ground works being carried out.

Mayangone construction

The frame and some walls were up by the end of April 2017.

Mayangone construction

The frame and some walls were up by the end of April 2017. Frames for the roof have arrived

The new village school at Su Hta

Throughout the years of military dictatorship, Myanmar has long suffered from civil war and economic and political isolation from the international community. It was only until recently that the country embarked on a process of gradual liberalisation, taking a giant step away from the shadow of oppression and enabling numerous displaced villagers to rebuild their livelihood.

Su Hta is one such village, located 3.5 hours to the west of Taungoo (including 2.5 hours of trailer ride). Access is difficult, although the villagers are creating motorcycle paths to nearby villages.

The Su Hta Village School was donated by three doctor friends of the Learners Chorus as a result of fundraising activity from the Mozart Great Mass in C minor concert on September 16, 2016, and will allow children to stay at home whilst still getting education.  The new school building is open-plan to maximize flexibility and to limit construction costs. Simple partitions are used to split the hall into smaller teaching areas and the many windows provide ample sunlight, minimizing any need for electricity, which is difficult to come by at these remote, off-grid locations.

Our vice-chairman performing a simple opening ceremony with a local representative.

Winnie Wong of the Hong Kong Christian Council unlocking the doors of the school.

Students and villagers came to attend the opening ceremony. Some walked from surrounding villages and everybody had their best outfit on.

The teachers of the Su Hta Village School.

With the new school came new toilets. Very simple construction, but this is sanitary with running water pulled by gravity.

Pumping up Lives

Net ticket proceeds from “Lux Aeterna”, our concert in January 2017, were donated to the Hong Kong Christian Council’s “Village Development in Myanmar Project” towards three sets of pumps for the Hsar Phyu Su Village.

This remote village is located 3.5 hours northwest of Yangon and the last leg of the journey can only be made by motorcycles on muddy tracks. Agriculture is the main source of income for the villagers.  The region was badly hit by monsoon rains in mid-2016 when floods and landslides destroyed infrastructure and farmland. These pumps have helped irrigate part of the village’s paddy fields and get the village back on its feet.

The first harvest in April is expected to bring in ~US$4,000 for the village, which the villagers plan to reinvest into buying more machinery for irrigation, hopefully starting a virtuous cycle of improvement for their livelihood in this remote location.

In mid-2016, the region was badly flooded. These houses are on stilts but were nontheless inundated.

This is the house of the young village pastor, a good example of the villagers’ houses on stilts – flood water usually go at least halfway up the steps.

During the dry season it rarely rains here, so pumps are essential or the paddy fields will look like these unirrigated parts.

The first set of pump. The inlet side was slightly leaky and initially did not draw water. Some wet mud was used to reinforce the seal and it worked perfectly.

The second set was working to irrigate a parcel of the paddy fields. This pump can support 6-7 such parcels.

The third set. With more work put into the channels this set supports up to 10 parcels of paddy fields.