Green Island School provides pre-school education to over 50 children aged 2-5, all from the poor township of Northokkalapa in Yangon. The school is always looking for volunteers to help teaching the children or providing other support.
Primary and secondary schooling in Myanmar is free. However, the budget for teaching is small, quality of teaching is often low, and the drop out rates are high. An early start in life with a quality basic education is therefore essential now that Myanmar is moving towards a more liberal economy. In Myanmar, the concept of public or free kindergarden or pre-school does not exist.
The school is the dream-come-true of Khaing Zar:
Khaing Zar is the only daughter of U Tin Winn, a retired former trader in goods, and his wife Daw Thein Thein Oo. She is married with one daughter, and lives with her family and her parents next to the school she founded with the money from her wedding and supported by her family.
She says: “I believe in social care and that every child should have a chance in life. I found that teaching was my passion, caring for the welfare of the little children was what I wanted to do with my life, and I became a different person by founding the school”.
Subjects at Green Island School include English, reading, writing, music, crafts, and yoga. The children receive healthy meals, have an opportunity for happy play, and – perhaps most importantly – the school is a safe haven away from sometimes broken and unsafe homes, providing the children with an environment where they experience and learn love and care.
The children’s parents – those who can – pay the equivalent of $30 / month. In addition, Khaing Zar has to hope for volunteers to stay with the school and teach English to the children and teachers as well as donate – currently – $25 / week. From this and the parents’ money, Khaing Zar pays the teachers, a cleaner, fuel, food and school material, as well as provides a free scholarship to the very poorest children.
In addition to the pre-school, Khaing Zar has founded a free English Summer School for children aged 7-11, which she wants to expand further to become a permanent English school for children and adults, but for this also, she needs more volunteers.
One additional donation, one additional volunteer, or someone who has the knowledge, expertise or network to help her grow and make her school known to a wider audience will make a big difference in her life and the lives of the children and their parents.