Burma: School for Orphans December 2004

On the island of Bilu Kyun (Ogre Island) is a monastery which runs a school for children who have been orphaned -- often as not, by random acts of brutality by the Burmese Army. Bilu Kyun is just off of the coast from the southern town of Mawlamyang in Mon State. The Mon are one of the major ethnic minorities within Burma, whose culture the ruling junta is trying to eliminate by forcing public schools to teach only Burmese language and culture. One of the objectives of this monastery is to preserve the Mon heritage, and to that end they teach it to the students in the school, alongside the Burmese elements. Yu Yu is Mon, as is her father. In fact, both of Yu Yu's parents were born on this island, and a lot of family still resides here. Many people made contributions to this school which Yu Yu brought with her. In the pictures you will see several of the students holding pieces of paper upon which they've written "Thank You", the name(s) of one of the contributors, and their own name. Unfortunately, the flash washed out the white sheets of paper and it's almost impossible to read them. They're a little clearer in the prints, and here I've given attribution to the appropriate donor, as well as the student's name for those that I can read.

Click on a thumbnail to see the image.

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