Friday, June 26, 2009

Villagers refuse government money for new schools

By Kon Hadae, IMNA

Villagers from Mudon Township in Mon State have refused government money for the building of schools.

90 million kyat was donated by former Mudon residents now living and working in Singapore, but it hasn’t ended up being enough for the construction.

In September, the family inquired about making repairs to a school in Set -thawe village. Officials at the Mudon Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC), however, asked the family to allow the Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA) to coordinate the repairs.

The USDA is a government-backed civilian organization founded with the support of Senior General Than Shwe in 1993.

The USDA announced plans to build schools in five villages: kolort-tort, Doe-mar, Set-thawe, Kwan hlar village. They finished building the schools in Set-thawe and Kyaik-ywe village, and began Doe-mar’s in March, which the USDA estimated would cost 15 million kyat.

The USDA leaders informed villagers that their organization would not be willing to cover 8 million themselves. Initially Mudon villagers agreed with the USDA offer, but then noted the low quality materials bought for the school.

Now villagers told IMNA they thought the USDA would also misuse the remaining 8 million kyat.

“They just bought bad quality materials for the school, and wanted to keep the extra money. So we villagers are concerned that they are going to misuse our money. For that reason we refused to let the USDA organize the building of the school in our village. We told them [the USDA] we would organize the building of this school with our own money.”

The school in Doe-mar village is now 50 percent complete. School construction has been halted since last month because the villagers had no money. In order to continue building the school, the village headman has asked for money from the Mon State ministry of education.

According to a Doe-mar villager, thus far no answer has been received from the Mon state ministry of education.

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