IDP Villagers Who Built Their Own Schools Ask for Help

Mawchi School Mawchi School

Villagers have created volunteer schools without external assistance in internally displaced persons (IDP) villages, for people affected by war, in the Mawchi area of Hpasawng Township in Kayah (Karenni) State.

The schools have just been constructed with bamboo walls and cannot tolerate adverse weather conditions, so it is hard for them to be sustainable, said Saw Jonny from the Thaw-Thi-Kho, a social support group based in Loikaw Town.

He said: “The schools have almost collapsed and that is not only in one village, but in almost all of the villages. There are many educational needs in villages affected by war.”

In the school at Yapyu Village there are about 40 students, but there are insufficient teachers, said Saw Deede Sein from Yaypu Village.

He said: “Villagers and organizations such as the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) have helped to pay teachers’ salaries.”

In 2008 villagers from the Mawchi area organised themselves to build houses in Yaypu and resettle there, in 2011 they got together and built a school in Yaypu.

After the villagers submitted a proposal to reconstruct the school and pictures of the collapsing school building to the educational department of Hpasawng Township in 2013 they were told they would receive assistance in 2014, but, according to villagers, nothing has happened yet.

Now that there is a ceasefire the IDP villagers want the government to construct school buildings and appoint staff, including teachers, said Saw Phoe Hla Myint from Mawchi Village, a larger IDP village whose occupants were originally driven out of several different villages in the Mawchi area by fighting.

Out of the 60 villages in Hpasawng Township only about 10 villages have schools, so many children face long journeys and transport problems to get to school.

Some of the villages in Hpasawng Township have not yet been registered with the interior ministry, so villagers need to apply to the relevant government departments so that the villages can become officially recognised.

Some IDPs have returned to their original villages in Has Taw Township, these villagers also need school buildings.

Translated by Aung Myat Soe English version written by Mark Inkey for BNI