UWS Newsletter – October 2020

Teach the Unreached

UWS + ISY + WKV = Working 4 SDG 4

ISY United World Schools, Service Learning Groups

The Latest news from Wan Kaung Village

This post was created by Sammy (Class of 2022), Bridget (Class of 2023), Harry L. (Class of 2023), Kaily (Class of 2023), Cindy (Class of 2024),  Su Pwint (Class 2023)

UWS Wan Kaung Support Group – What? Why? and How?

by Sammy (2022)

Welcome to our 3rd year of partnership with UWS and Wan Kaung Village! The ISY, UWS, Wan Kaung partnership has become a major part of our lives as we connect with a remote village in Myanmar through the common goal of improving educational opportunities. As the school year begins once more, we begin our annual effort to make sure we maintain this connection by raising enough funds to support our partner school. As we do so, it’s important to remember what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it. 

 

What is UWS? Why are we partnered with them?

United World Schools (UWS) is an NGO that partners with schools around the globe with the vision of a world where all children have access to quality education. Quality education is one of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At ISY we hope to do our part in achieving this goal by improving educational opportunities for the children of Wan Kaung, one of Myanmar’s most marginalized, underprivileged communities. By working with UWS, we are working to foster transformative education by not only building a school, but helping to create an educational environment where real learning takes place. A place where equality, higher educational opportunities, and independence lead toward the children of Wan Kaung becoming compassionate global citizens, just as we strive to become here at ISY.

 

What do we, at ISY, do with UWS?

ISY has two main UWS groups in two parts of the school – high school and elementary school. We are also planning to open up a middle school group soon. Every year, we raise awareness about SDG #4 and collect annual funds to sustain our partner school in Wan Kaung Village in the Northern Shan state. ISY’s collective effort has already allowed Wan Kaung Village to build improved playground and school facilities, as well as expand the educational resources available to the children. ISY has also begun building closer relationships with the community of Wan Kaung through visiting their village in January 2020. 

All of our activities are now supplemented by the UWS Student Ambassador Scheme, which allows five students in our high school program to connect further with other partner schools and act as student liaisons for UWS. With this program, these five students will be bringing our community fresh ideas to support the achievement of SDG 4, and further developing our connections with UWS and our partner school in Wan Kaung.  

United World Schools 2020-21 Fundraising Goal and Status. 

We can do it!

Created using the Donation Thermometer plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/donation-thermometer/.10,000Raised 0 towards the 10,000 target.Raised 0 towards the 10,000 target.0%

Social Distanced Class in Wan Kaung Village Before Lockdown

Update About UWS Covid Response 

by Bridget (2023) and Harry L. (2023)

The United World Schools organisation has been working hard to adjust to the effects of Covid-19 on all their schools, not only in Myanmar, but also in Cambodia and Nepal. UWS has been specifically working on three important programs: the water and hygiene upgrade program, Covid-19 awareness campaign, and their distance learning program. UWS continues to work on stopping the spread of COVID-19 through providing handwashing facilities, spreading prevention information and following social distancing guidelines as well as government policies.

Unfortunately, the Wan Kaung school has currently been unable to run their normal activities because of the government restrictions following the recent wave of COVID-19 in Myanmar. Before the closure, the school safely continued lessons with the children, making sure to follow social distancing guidelines. UWS also worked with the Shwegondaing Specialist Center (SSC) to set up hand washing facilities in the village and help educate the residents about the virus. 

We were pleased to receive a letter from one of the students (Grade 4) at the Wan Kaung school, telling us about the current situation and how she appreciates our efforts. COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on low-income areas like Wan Kaung. Ma Nar Bu, the 13-year-old girl, writes, “Because of Covid-19, my family did not have income for we could not sell the greengrocers and there was difficulty to buy goods for they were run out sometimes.” She talked about how the education she received on COVID-19 safety precautions has helped her family and the entire village to feel less fearful of the virus, while still being cautious, during the difficult times.

UWS is now focusing on providing an adapted version of learning that continues to prepare students while furthering their learning. Education officers are retraining community leaders and students are learning at home with lesson packs. We will continue to work as closely as we can with the Wan Kaung School to ensure that no child is left behind.

2020 UNESCO King Sejong Literary Prize Laureate

by Kaily (2023)

As members of the UWS club in Myanmar, we were thrilled to hear that the UWS organization had been recognized by UNESCO for our efforts to provide education for non-Burmese speaking children living in remote areas of Myanmar. On September 1, 2020, UWS was announced a winner of the 2020 King Sejong Literacy Prize by the Director General of UNESCO. The prize consists of a sum of $20,000 USD along with a silver medal and a certificate. 

UWS’s Myanmar Country Director, Dr. Kay, says, “We are honoured UNESCO have recognised our work in Myanmar and the tremendous impact of our locally-recruited teachers. Thanks to them, thousands of children who speak minority languages are able to access a quality education. We hope this prize will make them feel even more proud of the amazing work they are doing and motivate them to continue delivering mother-tongue based education.” She speaks for all of us in ISY’s UWS community. We are all highly motivated to continue fundraising for the school in Wan Kaung Village and hope to see many things accomplished this year despite the current challenges. Keep up the good work UWS!

Fundraising Plans & Events 

by Cindy (2024)

The ISY Community has made the commitment to raise $10,000 per year to support the educational needs of the Wan Kaung children. The money will cover school supplies, teacher salaries, building maintenance, handwashing stations, and other essentials.

To fulfill this commitment, the UWS-Wan Kaung Group will be continuing the Sponsor-a-Student Program from last year, which allows donors to sponsor the education of a student in Wan Kaung Village for a month at a cost of only $10 USD (15,000 MMK) or $125 (180,000MMK) for a year. This sponsorship can be done through the UWS newsletter page on the ISY website. Please contact Mr. Todd Davis (todavis@isyedu.org) or Mr. Nick Sturmey (nsturmey@isyedu.org) for more information.

While the group is fundraising through the Sponsor-a-Student Program to support students in Wan Kaung Village, our group is also in the process of planning future fundraising events and campaigns in this pandemic. Once these plans get put into action, they’ll be announced in this newsletter, so stay tuned!

Plans For the Future/How You Can Help

by Su Pwint (2023)

Hey, Chinthes! This year, UWS is striving to maintain the education of students in Wan Kaung and establish a connection with our partner school, through fundraising and working closely with the Wan Kaung community.

We are currently unable to organize physical community events due to the school’s campus closure, but we will continue to involve you through virtual fundraisers such as Family Fun Night. We can still strive to create connections between secondary and elementary students at ISY in working for UWS, and to continually update our teams with what we will be doing. With our newly strengthened connections with our partner school, we will be gearing our efforts towards their needs and more successfully introducing personal connections and needs of the Wan Kaung school with our community.

Although you are socially distanced at home, you can still help! Here are some ways to do so:

  • Help us get a “head-start” on next year’s fundraising efforts by Sponsoring a Wan Kaung Student. It only costs $10 USD or 15,000 MMK to sponsor a student’s educational needs for a month. 
  • Further contribute to UWS by buying a Chinthe mask for 2000 MMK.
  • Spread awareness about UWS by sharing this newsletter with your friends and family.
  • Join our UWS ASA group and help plan fundraisers and spread awareness
  • If you have any ideas for events you want to see us hold or other ways we can engage the community, send us your thoughts at todavis@isyedu.org!!

Additionally, we hope to provide our students with more opportunities to connect with UWS. When it is safe to do so, we hope to be able to go back to Wan Kaung Village, and allow our communities to build stronger bonds. 

Our Wan Kaung Partner School is in need of help now, more than ever. Take this opportunity to play your part in teaching the unreached by donating, sponsoring a child or participating in our upcoming events! 

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