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orphanages or poor schools in bagan or yangon?

Lancashire, United...
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orphanages or poor schools in bagan or yangon?

Hi, I am visiting Myanmar in November and we are spending 4 days in both yangon and bagan, we are also spending 2/3 days in various other places. I was wondering if anyone knows of any orphanages or poor schools in yangon or bagan that would appreciate a donation of food (rice etc) school books, medical supplies etc that I could visit for a couple of hours one day maybe? I would love to do volunteer work but can not afford to do so. this is the closest i can get to it unfortunately.

Thanks in advance for the replies :)

23 replies to this topic
Mandalay, Myanmar
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1. Re: orphanages or poor schools in bagan or yangon?

Visit to any monastic primary schools that differ from State school and almost all are poor children & some are orphanages!

yangon
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2. Re: orphanages or poor schools in bagan or yangon?

One of the tribal orphanage school located in Pakkoku. You can reach there by car and most of the drivers in Bagan know well this school.

Lancashire, United...
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3. Re: orphanages or poor schools in bagan or yangon?

Thanks, how far is it from bagan? and will they accept donations?

Mandalay, Myanmar
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4. Re: orphanages or poor schools in bagan or yangon?

Just nearly 1 hour drive from Bagan to Pakokku for 18 miles by new Ayeyarwaddy bridge. Any orphanage schools accept the donation.

Lancashire, United...
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5. Re: orphanages or poor schools in bagan or yangon?

So would a taxi to the orphanage be the best option?

Sandhurst UK
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6. Re: orphanages or poor schools in bagan or yangon?

Hi Helen,

I can't comment on orphanages, but can offer a few thoughts on supporting schools - and especially primary schools in Myanmar.

The first thing to say is that it is a thoroughly rewarding and worthwhile thing to do .... with a little planning. A modest gift or contribution can make a difference to young peoples' lives long after you have returned home. But it is important to understand something of the different kinds of schools in the country and what their needs are.

Schools in the country are generally well run despite their resources appearing very meagre by western standards. There is a national curriculum and teacher training continues to improve.

As Koesoesomedy states there are two parallel systems: state and monastic schools. Funding for the state schools, while not generous, is markedly better than monastic schools which are highly dependent on donations and, in addition, provide education for some of the most impoverished children in the community.

Your guide can help you make contact with a suitable school, but please be aware that some schools in tourist areas receive disproportionally more donations than others a little further away. A journey into the countryside to a rural school brings its own rewards and will open your eyes to an aspect of Myanmar never glimpsed by the tour groups in their air conditioned coaches

Do try to find out in advance of your visit what the school actually needs. Donations will always be accepted gratefully but a little forethought here can make a huge difference. (A couple of years ago I was shown a box of - expensive - whiteboard marker pens, recently donated. Useful, if the school had had any whiteboards, whereas what they really needed was an additional water cooler for the children.)

Be wary of giving significant sums of cash. a small amount - a couple of hundred dollars, say - can make a big difference to a small monastic school. Many rely on young volunteer teachers to augment their regular staff. Some I met earlier this year - inspiring and hard working young people BTW - were earning as little as 38USD per month paid for donations and whatever little the children's parents could afford. Most head teachers will have a 'project' ready costed and 'shovel ready' (I speak from experience!) but larger donations are supposed to be declared to the authorities, with the suspicion that especially generous donations can result in a reduction in the school's official grant.

If in doubt, take school stationery supplies. These are an on going expense in all schools and a donation of the right sort of supplies can free up money for use elsewhere.

For basic supplies: good quality standard sized exercise books (ruled 8mm lines), rulers marked in both cm and inches, decent HB pencils, colouring pencils, pencil sharpeners, erasers, art materials etc. will always be put to good use.

In Yangon, there are several stall holders specializing in school supplies on the lower floor of the wholesale market south of Anawratha Rd, near the Theingyizay overpass. You will need a guide to translate and payment is only in Kyats. Supplies from India and Thailand, while a little more expensive, are much preferred to products from China which are regarded as of poorer quality. If your school has requested you bring some 'snacks' for the children - always appreciated, these are also available for stalls nearby.

All in all, a rewarding and thoroughly worthwhile thing to do and, I suspect, an experience you'll never forget.

Enjoy your visit

Don

Warks.England
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for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon), Ngapali, Tossa de Mar
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7. Re: orphanages or poor schools in bagan or yangon?

Very wise words.

Thank you

SS

Virginia
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8. Re: orphanages or poor schools in bagan or yangon?

Don - your post is very informative, thank you! I, too, will be visiting Myanmar in mid Nov, and will bring some school supplies with me. I'm contacting my travel agent to see if while on the seven day cruise there will be a stop near a countryside monastic school that would accept the gift.

Warks.England
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9. Re: orphanages or poor schools in bagan or yangon?

If you are on a cruise I do believe there is a visit to a local school as one of your visits-there certainly was on the Pandaw & RTM cruises I have done and if you are on their boats you will visit the school they support.

Those going further afield to Ngapali Beach must put Mama Sue's school at LinThar village on your things to do list.

http://www.myanmar-aid.org/home.htm

SS

Virginia
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10. Re: orphanages or poor schools in bagan or yangon?

SS - thanks for the info! I'll be on the RTM cruise, so will be prepared with school supplies for the visit. Hopefully the school they support is one of the more rural monastic schools that sound like they are more in need of the supplies?

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