Saturday, 21 June 2008

Foreign monks help reconstruct school, after junta's cronies refuse

By Lyeh Mon, IMNA

20 Jun 2008, With a firm belonging to a henchman of the Burmese military junta refusing to rebuild a middle school in Rangoon devastated by Cyclone Nargis, a group of foreign monks have come forward to do the needful.

Although the Shwe Kabar Construction Company assured the school committee that it would rebuild the No.4 Middle School in Thinkankyunt, the firm failed to keep its promise given the high costs of reconstruction of three buildings.

Teachers told local journalists that the township school committee contacted the monk's group for funds for rebuilding.

"The construction company was just trying to appease the generals with the assurance to the school committee. After they realized that rebuilding costs would be high, they avoided it. But teachers are happy because they are getting support from the monks," a local journalist said.

Monks from Thailand, China, Singapore, Vietnam and interpreters went to the school last week and inspected the destroyed school building.

During the visit of the monks', journalists were barred from interviewing them and teachers were afraid to talk about it.

"Don't ask me so much, if I give wrong answers, my higher authorities will stop the rebuilding plan," a journalist quoted a teacher as saying.

The No.4 Middle School had four buildings of which three were destroyed by the cyclone in May. Because the military government ordered reopening of schools, the teachers are finding it difficult to take classes.

They divided the school time. Half the students are attending classes in the morning while the other half come in the evenings. The teachers are using a temple building near the school to take classes.

The Burmese military regime is sponsoring its crony companies, such as Htoo company, Shwe Kabar and other firms to rebuild schools, markets and other government department buildings in cyclone hit areas.

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