|School teacher Daw Win Nwe Soe explains to 10 year old students the disaster safety booklet. |
Credits: World Vision International – Myanmar
‘It was the worst flood ever recorded in our area’, recalled Daw Win Nwe Soe, Primary school teacher in Nwar Taung village, Thabaung Township, Ayeyarwady Region.
As a result of heavy rains coupled with Cyclone Komen which hit Myanmar in late July 2015, massive flooding occurred that displaced 11,270 people from 2,491 households in Thabaung Township. The floods submerged 75 out of 225 schools in the area, forcing teachers to close schools for more than a month. “The floods were so strong they damaged the infrastructure of the school buildings”, explained Moe Thu, Disaster Response Department Manager from World Vision Myanmar.
With financial support from the Government of Japan, UNICEF together with partner World Vision Myanmar implemented a school renovation project in Thabaung Township to re-establish access to education services for flood affected children. This included the renovation of 36 schools, improving the learning spaces for nearly 7,500 students. The repairs were supplemented with provision of furniture, teaching materials and learning supplies for the students.
“Water and sanitation facilities also formed part of our assistance to 13 schools, so we included education for both students and teachers about maintaining hygiene’, explained Moe Thu. “And to help the faculty and students prepare for future floods and other potential disasters, teachers and students developed disaster preparedness plans together.”
‘Before the renovations, we needed to close schools whenever there was bad weather”, explained Daw Win Nwe Soe. “But now it will no longer be necessary to interrupt classes during the rainy season, even if there are floods. That means that our students will have less disruptions and will be able to concentrate better on their studies.’
Ten year-old Thuzar Win, who attends grade 5 explained, ‘Before our school building was so small and there were no divisions between classrooms, so it affected our learning.’ Classmate Thazin Phyo chimed in to share, ‘We are happy in our new renovated school building. Now we can hear what our teachers are teaching’.