MCF began a relationship with this rural school in southern Myanmar in 2007. It sits only a few miles from the coastline and the surrounding area is sparsely populated by rice farmers and fishermen. The beauty of the rice fields, the mud-caked water buffalo, and the nearby emerald-green hills is breathtaking.
In 2007, Shan Chaung was composed of a small monastery building and one very small classroom for children grades 1-4. The two teachers onsite were a father-daughter team. MCF established its first Stay in School program at this site.
In 2009, MCF began construction with a grant from Child’s Dream of a larger classroom building (on wood and brick pylons to weather the rainy seasons), which was dedicated that same year. A small concrete water tank was built for the school children and monks as well. The successful pilot microloan program took place for 14 farming families who had children enrolled in the school. Classes expanded to grade 5 and 6 and new teachers were added.
In 2010-11, a second classroom building with adjoining teacher’s quarters, a brick covered playground, and improved latrines were constructed. The Unitarian Universalist Church and St. James Catholic Church of Davis also donated financially towards the completion of the school building. Grade levels expanded to grade 7.
A generous family from Davis, California, Mr. and Mrs. Kent Brittan and their daughters, Lisa and Laurel, donated money to build a second, larger covered water tank to meet the needs of the expanding monastic school. The Brittans were part of the Travel with a Purpose group that visited this school in November 2013.
In 2012-13, the Stay in School program had expanded so much that 5 teachers were hired to cover the added grade levels. Grade levels expanded to grade 8.
In 2013-14, five Shan Chaung pupils who had completed grade 8 at the school moved on to continue in grade 9 at a neighboring town. This was a first for this small rural community! Two of those moving on say they want to become teachers for Shan Chaung in the future.
We are grateful to our Country Director, Mr. King, for overseeing the development projects at this site.