Visiting “Phaung Daw Oo Monastic School”
The school provides universal primary and secondary education services for more than 6,000 children in Mandalay, and seeks to increase the quality of its teaching within the monastic education system, as well as increasing its sustainability.
The school operates morning and afternoon lesson sessions in order to accommodate the 6,000-plus students. The team toured the school, including seeing the vocational training rooms for textiles, and the woodshop for furniture making, and some of the items available for sale. They also discussed plans for income generation that they hope to implement over the next five years.
It is evident that the monk has a great team of enthusiastic young people poised to manage the school with its incredible growth now, and into the future. Win, one of our companions during the visit, came to the school in 1993 when he was 10 years old. Today he is part of the management team. The school is obviously seeing great results.
In addition, the team were shown aspects of local culture: “Thanaka powder”, the traditional makeup, is ground from a piece of bark from a tree onto a stone and mixed with water to make a paste. It is then applied to the face with a brush make different patterns. This is done for two reasons, one, for beauty, secondly, it acts as a sunscreen. It was also quite novel to watch the boys playing soccer in the dirt, rather than on a grassy field!