Epiphany Trust has supported Kaw Law Gaw primary school since 2003. The village is located three kilometres inside Burma and has been a major centre for local Karen life and has even hosted national Karen celebrations. The school has had a turbulent decade, being closed three times due to fighting in the area.
In 2005, the Burmese Army (SPDC) attacked during the Karen New Year celebrations. During 2008, the SPDC and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army occupied the village. Many of the villagers hid in the surrounding jungle with little shelter, no access to clean water and at risk from malaria and dengue. The school also had to close in 2011 when the school playing field became a battlefield between the Karen National Liberation Army and the SPDC. During 2008 The Epiphany Trust funded our partners on the ground to deliver supplies of rice, mosquito repellent and water purification tablets. Amid this torrid recent past, the progress that the school is making is quite remarkable. Late last year they officially opened their new concrete building and have ambitious plans to create dormitories to allow children from remote villages a chance of an education.
The school is comfortably ahead of its competition, not just because of the new school building they proudly display, but in their positive outlook and in – most impressively – the children’s outgoing manner. During a recent visit, Epiphany volunteers were treated to dances and singing by happy, engaging children.
The success of the school is aided by its proximity to the Thai border, allowing easy flow of supplies and expertise, but also boasts an impressive network of supporters driven by a dedicated committee. The Trust has considered the possibility of encouraging a ‘centre of excellence’ through increased funding and guidance so it can be heralded as an example to other schools in the region. This is a distinct possibility if the security situation remains stable and funding allows. Regardless, Epiphany will resolutely support the school in raising the bar of what is expected and achievable with education inside the Karen State.