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Children of Myanmar determined to go back to school

© UNICEF/Myanmar/2008/Aye Aye Than
With the support of UNICEF to repair the school in time for reopening and reducing the cost of schooling for families, Daw Than Than Htay, the principal of the school hopes that children will be back to school.

By : Angela Thaung

Yangon, 27 May 2008 - Children in some of the areas affected by cyclone Nargis in Myanmar are gearing up to head back to school next week, as UNICEF and its partners use everything from trucks and boats to distribute essential school supplies and teaching materials around the country. Today in Kawhmu township, Yangon Division, UNICEF distributed more than 2,000 roofing sheets and 23 school-in-a box and recreational kits to 23 affected primary schools there. Myanmar aims to reopen schools in some of the cyclone-affected areas by June 2. Even though not all schools will open their doors to pupils that day, the principal of Ye Phyu Twin post primary school, Ms. Than Than Htay, is determined to have classes . She understands that bringing some kind of normalcy to the lives of traumatized children in her village is very important. “This is the first day of registration, and there are already more than 150 registered out of a total of 247 children. I am optimistic that 95% of children will return to school,” said the principal. Before the cyclone lashed the village, Ye Phyu Twin had three fully-functioning buildings. Now one has completely collapsed, and the other two lost their roofs. To address the needs, roofing sheets from UNICEF were dispatched in time for preparing the two school buildings still standing for classes. In addition, UNICEF also provided school supplies. With this support, Ms. Htay believes that children can start schooling again. There is, however, one fear.. “As most families are in dire hardship, some children will most likely drop out of school in order to help their families.”

© © UNICEF/Myanmar/2008/Aye Aye Than
Daw Than Than Htay, principal of a post primary school checking the content of a School-in-a-Box received from UNICEF on Sunday for her school in Kawhmu Township, Yangon Division.
The whole community is indeed in great difficulty, and they need support. The Parents-Teachers Association is not in a position to help the reconstruction of the middle school this year. The principal intends to reuse the scrap wood and roofing materials to build a small library for the school. “With the support of UNICEF to repair the school in time for reopening and reducing the cost of schooling for families, I am confident that I can encourage parents to send their children back to school, no matter what happens” said the lean , resilient principal Damaged schools are supported by UNICEF so that schools can reopen as scheduled or with slight delays only. Within the past two weeks, 61 primary schools have received roofing sheets, school supplies and recreational kits as part of UNICEF’s rapid response to support children’s education. Other supplies such as furniture are needed, and repairing the school’s latrinesH is another priority. Twelve year old Kyaw Thu Shein, a fifth grader said, “I want to go back to school, because I want to be an educated person. My parents said they will send me back to school”. A second grader, Win Le Le Khine, 7, is also looking forward to going back to school. “I am happy to go back to school as we can read, write, exercise and say prayers at school.” Getting children back to school is essential for their recovery from the traumatic experience that children have in coping with the disaster. It also helps ensure a better quality of their life, even if learning takes place in tents and other makeshift arrangements.

 

 
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