Rice Village in Kyang Tong region
Government schools in the remote villages offer instruction only up to Grade 5. Schooling after that - high school - is available only in the eastern Shan State’s principal city of Kyaing Tong, which is too far away and too expensive for their families to afford. But now, new education opportunities for village girls are being offered in a pilot program. Teachers in the villages schools identify promising girls and the Kyaing Tong Learning Center director Cynthia Paul, together with staff teachers, select the students.
They live at the learning center and attend the local high school. A house mother supervises the students’ activities and a tutor helps them with their studies. They will also participate in the English language classes taught at the center. Students are fully supported with clothing, school fees, supplies and other needs for children growing up in Kyaing Tong. Instead of tuition, families give what they have - rice for the children’s meals. By attending the government school and the learning center students are socially integrated in the community. In five years, when they finish high school and are fluent in English, they will have traveled many rice paddies distant from the limited possibilities in their villages and be prepared for a life that they would not have imagined.
This pilot program was initiated with three young girls. The Kyaing Tong Learning Center is seeking funds to add more girls to the program and to eventually construct a dormitory so even more girls from these impoverished village can imagine life beyond the constricting parameters of the rice paddies.