UWS Newsletter – February 2019
Teach the Unreached
UWS and ISY working 4 SDG 4
ISY United World Schools, Service Learning Groups
A Trip to Wan Kaung Village, Reflection by Sammy (Class of 2022)
The little girl watched as we entered the Wan Kaung Village schoolroom. She edged around the doorway into the room, curiously watching from a corner. “Come, come,” we said. She shook her head and backed into the corner even more. We crouched down next to her, and handed her a pink paper airplane. The girl, whose hands were so small they could barely hold the airplane, allowed herself a toothless grin. A group of bigger kids entered the room, and gathered around us ready to make paper airplanes with them. Once everyone had made their paper airplane, the little girl followed the big kids out the door as they ran, squealing, into the dirt schoolyard. As we helped her fly her airplane, the big kids let theirs fly. The paper airplanes soared in the wind, their colors melding with the children’s laughter in the cold, crisp mountain air.
Every child at the UWS Wan Kaung school is like this – curious, gleeful, and unabashedly happy. Over two days, January 29-30 we would be the first ISY students to spend quality time at the new Wan Kaung School. Our aim was cultivating experiences and building long-lasting relationships between ISY and Wan Kaung. Each new day, we spent two hours driving each way on a 4WD dirt road from bustling KengTung to the peaceful village in the mountains of the Shan State. Immersed in the beautiful depths of the mountains, we explored the village and interacted with the villagers. We spent time with the children, engaging in different activities such as building paper airplanes, teaching them songs, and learning a tribal dance. Parents of the village spoke about how the school had lifted the spirits of the village, promising that there was a place for the children to learn, laugh, and have fun. It is a safe place for the parents to trust. The partnership between UWS, ISY, and Wan Kaung has ensured that the whole community will work on SDG4 – Quality Education. As a result, every child – even those who were not required to go to school yet – came to school whenever possible, and village members would constantly help out with the schooling.
However, this was not just a trip, but an experience of a lifetime. There is no delight quite as beautiful as that of those who live so far from the bustling city, for they take joy in the little things. Over the course of our trip, we lived like that, exploring with curiosity and forgetting the pressures of an urban lifestyle.
As we arrived back to ISY, we are reminded that what we once believed to be simply a school was far more, and was instead a thriving community of eager parents, excited children, and hopeful villagers. There is so much potential to be found in this school – from future doctors to national soccer players to budding new teachers. It is what makes us realize that the ISY’s partnership with Wan Kaung and UWS can forever change this community. It’s up to us to decide how.
ISY Connections by Bridget (Class of 2023)
The nine students and three teachers who visited the Wan Kaung Village school (January 28-31, 2020) all came back with heart-warming stories and memories of enthusiastic and welcoming children. Two of the main goals that the Wan Kaung / UWS Partnership group at ISY would like to accomplish are helping the ISY community feel friendship and connection with the children and villagers of Wan Kaung, and finding ways to further support the educational needs so the children of Wan Kaung will have a wider range of opportunities in the future. In efforts to accomplish this goal, the highschooler students who went on the trip are sharing their experiences with as many ISY students as they can. This includes visiting elementary classes and sharing their stories at the Highschool assembly.
The presentation to the elementary students was about the children of the Wan Kaung School and what daily life was like for them. High school student presenters described how there are similarities to elementary classrooms at ISY, like the subjects they learn, and how the classrooms have posters and student’s work on the walls. They also learned that Wan Kaung students enjoy playing soccer, flying paper airplanes and talking to friends just like the elementary students at ISY.
The HS presenters also described some of the differences like the fact that schooling ends for about 80% of the children of Wan Kaung after grade 4. And how many of these children start their working life at the young age of 12 years old. The presenters went on to express how delighted they were when they found out that the WKS students showed so much potential and love coming to their new school to the point that they even go to visit the school on weekends. The connection the elementary students of ISY feel are definitely stronger knowing more about how different, and yet, similar the WKS students are to them.
The students who visited the WKS also shared their experiences with the high school students of ISY. In this presentation, each member shared a story about their experience and what they learned. They shared that each student was so eager not only to learn but to embrace the high-schoolers on the trip into their culture. The kids at the WKS even taught some Lahu, the local language, to the high-schoolers.
Overall, the students of ISY got to know the children and villagers of Wan Kaung, which further strengthened the partnership between the ISY community and the WKS community. There is definitely a lot more to learn from the WKS and a lot more ways to help the children receive the education they deserve.
Fundraising by Kaily Zhang (Class of 2023)
The 2nd annual UWS’s Family Fun Night is fast approaching! On Saturday, March 7th, from 5 – 7 p.m. at the ISY campus there is a chance for you to participate in various activities and eat a variety of food. The entrance fee is donation based, with a recommended donation of 5,000 kyats per student/10,000 kyats per adult/15,000 kyats per family. The entrance ticket includes access to team games and sports, video games, ping pong, movies, the swimming pool, board games, and more. Other activities are extra and will require additional payment (booking and prices at the entrance). A hand stamp will be given upon entrance. We encourage you to come, and we also encourage you to bring your family to this event!
Sponsor a Wan Kaung Student!
ISY is today launching a new program to help raise funds for the Wan Kaung School / United World Schools Project. There are 80 students at the school in Wan Kaung Village. Our yearly commitment is $10,000 USD which means that the educational cost for each child effectively comes to $125 USD per year or just over $10 USD per month. We would like to invite you to sponsor a Wan Kaung child’s educational cost with either a $10 per month (15,000 Ks) donation or $125 for a whole year (180,000 Ks). The donation will not be tied to an individual student but will be part of our collective fund-raising efforts. Payments can be made at the business office or at the Family Fun Night or just click on the “Donate to UWS” button above and specify that you are contributing to the “Sponsor a Wan Kaung Student Fund”. Thank you!
United World Schools 2019-20 Fundraising Goal and Status
United World Schools Posts
The latest news from the village of Wan Kaung and the United World Schools project including a visit from the organization to ISY and the upcoming Sports-a-thon.
It’s back! The United World Schools Sport-a-thon fundraising event will take place on Saturday 7th December. Come along and cheer on ISY students performing sponsored activities to raise money for UWS.
Service learning is really beginning to take shape at ISY. Students are becoming more and more familiar with the 5 stages of service learning which are: Investigation, Preparation, Action, Reflection, and Demonstration.
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