Why Supporting Educaiton Programs is Important
Due to decades of neglect, under-funding, suppression of academic freedom, and periodic school closings, the educational system in Burma is rapidly deteriorating. A UNICEF survey conducted in 1995 found that 39% of school age children have never attended primary school while 26% of the parents said they could not afford the cost of schooling. For students who are able to attend school, the poverty of the education system is compounded by the lack of facilities, assess to information, and unqualified and underpaid teachers. Knowledge and especially critical thinking is perceived as dangerous to the military regime, the State Peace and Development Council. Crucial for Burma’s transition to an open, democratic society is to overcome the challenges of building up the education system and laying the groundwork to foster civil society. The training program for volunteer teachers aims to both promote civil society networks as well as encourage critical thinking courses in monastic schools.
In the beginning of March 2006, five student volunteers from U Mya Kyaing English School (U Tun Lin Chan Street, Hledan Township) and I developed and taught an ESL course for 200 students in Aung Za Bu Monastery. A detailed chronicle of our activities can be found at:
http://www.brightprism.com/ & http://www.amazingschool.textamerica.com/
Established on April 22, 1990, Aung Za Bu Monastery School strives to support orphans, children of broken homes, and children from families too poor to attend school. Most families in the villages surrounding the monastery are subsistence farmers who earn less than $1 a day. Because of their poverty and isolation, few villagers have the opportunity to further their education in high school or university. To give the next generation of students the opportunity to improve their lives, Aung Za Bu Monastery School provides education free of charge to students in kindergarten through 8th standard. The monastery school also provides free textbooks, pencils, and stationary to over 700 boys and girls who come from more than 10 different surrounding villages in Kormou.
Of the 700 local students, 200 students from the 7th, 8th, and 9th standards are taking supplementary ESL classes provided by the student volunteers from U Mya Kyaing School. The ESL program is held from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday and is successfully continuing since its inception in March, 2006.
The mission of the school is to:
Give free education and provide the children with a solid foundation for the rest of lives
Cultivate the children’s courage, morality, and self confidence
Support those who have been abandoned and show them how they can follow their dreams
Muslims, Christians, Hindus--students of all religions and ethnicities study at Aung Za Bu because the school provides secular education that matches the public school curriculum.
Because Aung Za Bu relies soley charitable donations for its programs, your help is essential to ensuring that these children can continue to learn. By supporting education, you change a child's life and provide the foundation so that children can change their society. Your donations would go to the Endowment Fund that would allow Aung Za Bu Monastery to become self sustainable. For each $400 we raise, we can buy 1 acre of land. The land will be used to cultivate bamboo, a fast growing plant which can be used for food, shelter, and furniture. Your one-time donation will go to the purchasing of bamboo fields that provide a continuous source of revenue for the school. For more information about the Endowment Fund and the daily expenses of the monastery, please visit the Donation page: (http://www.brightprism.com)