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Kindergarten and primary schools in Myanmar

In May 2008, a violent cyclone destroyed hundreds of villages in southern Myanmar. This project aimed to rebuild four schools in a number of these villages.

Project value: CHF 45,486

Funds: municipalities of Perly-Certoux, Collex-Bossy and Meinier, Chêne-bougerie, Comtesse Moira Foundation, private donations.

By devastating the Irrawaddy Delta in May 2008, Cyclone Nargis hit a very fertile area of Myanmar where about two thirds of the country’s rice production originated. Hundreds of villages were swept away by high winds; human losses were estimated at about 130,000 people; 800,000 hectares of rice fields were submerged and some 156,000 cattle died.

International assistance was immediately mobilized. After a short period during which the government banned access to the affected areas (with the idea of harvesting the humanitarian manna itself and managing emergency aid in its own way), NGOs were given access to the delta fairly quickly and basic aid was massively implemented in the first months. Shortly after the cyclone, we started a fundraising campaign that allowed us to send 26,286 SFr. to Burma. This amount was divided in roughly equal parts between essential aid and a one-off contribution to reconstruction. In November 2008, three pilot projects for school reconstruction carried out by local groups. The inauguration of the three schools took place in April 2009.

In response to the fact that almost all international aid had withdrawn from the country. A new fundraising campaign was carried out with the Geneva municipalities and some private donors. The CHF 20,000 raised allowed the reconstruction of two schools in the villages of Lay Gwa Sai and Bo Kone respectively. The municipality of Perly-Certoux, in particular, financed the complete reconstruction of one of them. The dynamic consisted in adding a sharing and awareness-raising action to the funding. The children collected photos and videos of the school’s work and inauguration celebration, as well as drawings made.

It should be recalled that the money collected has never been channelled through the oppressive military government, but always through local officials.ales, who have shown great rigour in guiding the projects; in particular, they have ensured the teachers’ salaries on a permanent basis. It is important to build schools in Myanmar, because in addition to providing education for children, it is often the only permanent building in a village, and therefore the only solid shelter in the event of severe weather.