Our Summer School Program started in 2013, works 3 months a year (March, April, and June during the summer season in Myanmar. At our Charity School, we teach our students to believe in themselves, to be creative, use their imagination, dream, step forward, have compassion, be passionate, be leaders, be good people and be good to others.
💚 Summer School Timeline! 💚
2013 to 2016
After opening her own business, the Bamboo Delight Cooking School, Sue, decided it was time to start giving back all the help she had received during her life. She decided to open her house and teach the local children during their summer school break.
At that time, she had only one small group with 10 students from her village. But she did not know how to teach them, so she invited foreign volunteers to come to her home and provide lessons to the children in exchange for meals she would cook for them. These volunteers were mainly guests that would come for the cooking class, learn about the project, and during their holidays in town they would spare their time and teach basic things to the children.
In 2015, Emily and Kamran, from the USA, were teaching at the vocational school in Nyaung Shwe. They first came for a cup of coffee and talked with Sue who shared with them her project plans. Emily offered to help on her day off, and this way they volunteered during the weekends for two months. At that time Sue already had a group of 30 kids.
In 2015, Sue received a bigger donation and was able to provide school uniforms and stationery for 75 children. The donation was made by Joycelyn Lee, owner of Burma Superstar Restaurant, in San Francisco (USA).
Sue uses 15% of her revenue from the Cooking Class and Restaurant to sponsor the activities and stationery for the students. Also, many of the Cooking Class and Restaurant clients would leave donations to help her with the project. From 2013 onward, the Bamboo Delight Library and Summer School would open from March to May every year. As part of the project, besides the Summer School, Sue also started a library for the children, with the books she had learned from during her whole life.
The Summer School welcomed around 50 students, we also were able to have a classroom built outside the house to accommodate the students. We divided the classes into the primary, middle, and high school levels and the library area.
A couple of teachers from Australia volunteered for 3 weeks, then three other volunteers, Sam from Germany, TJ, and Tina from Slovenia, stayed as volunteers respectively two months and 28 days.
That year we organized our first field trip and took all the children and volunteers on a train ride to visit Kalaw, a hill town, 65 km from Nyaung Shwe.
We had our first certificates delivered to the students that completed the summer school program.
It was a great year, as we had gained experience from the previous years and were able to welcome around 100 students. It was incredible to see how much progress the students who had been coming since the very first year had made.
Like in the previous years, we had volunteers coming from different parts of the world to teach our students. Some volunteers were able to stay longer, others only came for shorter periods. We also received great help from foreigners working in Nyaung Shwe who came and taught our students during their free time. It was during that summer that we realized the importance of long-stay volunteers and also the need for people with teaching experience as well as relevant skills to be shared with the children.
That year, we went again to Kalaw by train and also visited the Inle Horse Club where each student planted a tree in their forest. The students got the chance to experience a cooking class with Sue and Leslie and the Bamboo Delight team. Teaching life skill to our students such as cooking is also part of our program.
We also started our Environment Friday, when students would pick up trash around the village and growing plants and trees.
We received great donations that helped us to provide t-shirts as uniforms to all our students. For the lessons, the students were divided into three groups, primary, middle and high school.
In May, at the end of the program, we organized our second certificate ceremony. And that year the students prepared a beautiful surprise for the teachers: they sang a song in English. We also received a great donation, a full set of school materials, to give to each one of our students so they would be able to start school with good stationery items.
This year, the opening of the school was very uncertain as one month before opening, we did not have enough money to prepare the classroom and provide learning materials for the students. Tourism was down in the country and like many businesses in town, Ma Pu Sue’s Cooking School and Restaurant were suffering from it. As the biggest part of the school income comes from the Cooking School and Restaurant, funding was short. But one of our family friends and long-term volunteer teacher helped Sue tell her story in a video we shared with all, and thankfully we received so much help and support from people all over the world, which made 2019 our greatest year for the Summer School.
We were able to welcome almost 200 students and even had a waiting list. But we only have one classroom and one volunteer teacher so to be able to welcome all the children who wanted to learn from us, sometimes we had 48 students in the same class.
We divided our students by grade and ran five classes a day. As this was the first time we had a full-time volunteer teacher for two months at our school we were able to prepare materials for the children, so they would spend more time practicing their speaking and listening skills. They learned many songs, games, activities, dances, vocabulary, and much more. They had daily routines of greeting the volunteers and their friends. After the class, they would stay around the school area and play games and ready books at the library.
Every Friday was Environment Class. Students learned about pollution, recycling among other topics, as well as how to care for the environment and their community.
Saturday was our Activity and Excursion Day, and the occasion for many of our students to leave their village and explore places they had never been to before. They visited temples, museums, learned about the history of Shan State, played games and enjoyed picnics outside, traveled by car, boat, truck, and train, and many parents and members of our community participated in the school activities for the very first time. We also welcomed the Red Cross Taunggyi Team for First Aid Training for our students from grades 7 to 9. We also welcome university students from the Hong Kong University, NGL Programme, for 2 months (June and July) for English Classes and we also welcomed the university students from Mandalay, the IDFC group. Check all our activities and excursions on our YouTube Channel.
For the first time, we held a closing ceremony outside of our school area and were able to welcome our students and their parents. Each class presented a song in English and the choreography. Some students gave speeches in English and in Myanmar, and all of them received a certificate and some stationary.
That year, we were able to host a new project, an English Speaking Practice Group for adults. Every evening for one hour, locals and foreigners would come to our classroom and have the chance to practice English, learn different topics, and improve their vocabulary.
For the first time, our students were invited to join the "World Environment Day - Beat Air Pollution" event in Nyaung Shwe to raise awareness among the local community.
In February of this year, we opened the registration to welcome the students for the 2020 Summer School. We were expecting around 200 registrations but to our surprise, we ended up with over 300 students on the waiting list! On March 10th, for the first time, we organized an Orientation Day for both parents and students, where they all filled up a survey in order for us to learn more about them.
On March 11st, we had our first school day of the year; and since we had more students than expected, we had to organize the classes differently, every grade had its own one hour class time.
The first lesson for all the groups was about the rules of the school and classroom as well as introducing the volunteer teachers. This year we had some help from local and foreign volunteers. The students also learned how to greet the teachers and their friends. You can watch videos and check the photos on our Facebook page
We were lucky to receive plenty of donations for this Year's Summer School; we received stationery supplies, educational games, science supplies, art material, and many books for our library. With the monetary donations, we were able to prepare more shelves for the library, tables for the classroom, another area for the children to spend time reading and drawing; and we were also able to install fans in the classroom and in the library to help with the summer heat.
The volunteer teacher Juju, returned again this year all the way from Brazil to prepare the lessons and teach all levels. She was assisted by volunteers Linda and Abi from England and Nann Nann from Myanmar. Our founder, Sue, also spent many days in the classroom teaching the children about life skills.
On March 17th, we received an official letter from the government informing us about the necessity to close the summer school to help prevent the transmission of Covid-19 as part of the health measures taken during the world pandemic. It was a very difficult and emotional day for all, but Sue explained to all the students, class after class, the need for this prevention, and also explained about the importance of keeping healthy, washing hands, avoiding crowded places, staying at home, keeping positive thinking, and remembering all the great things they had learned at school.
After lots of discussions, and checking the pros and cons, Sue and Juju decided to start online classes via Facebook Live. So for a few weeks, in the morning, we would go online and sing for the students, make morning exercises as well as craft activities. The children who had access to the Internet and a smart-phone enjoyed these online classes a lot, but we realized that we were not reaching many people, as most of our students' families do not own smart-phones or can afford to pay for the Internet. So we decided to end the online classes.
However, Sue still wanted to offer some activities to the children, especially those living nearby. Luckily we did not have any Covid-19 cases near us, most of the people were following the stay-at-home policy, so Sue decided, for the very first time, to open the library to welcome the community, in order to help them learn and have a good time reading a book while staying at home. But because of the increase of Covid-19 cases in the country, we had to close the library too. We were able to reopen again in June, and then it was a huge success. We had more 200 members coming to borrow books. Learn more about our library and its activities in this post. (include a link to the post after writing it.)
Right now, we are preparing materials and new ideas for the 2021 Summer School, when we hope things around the world will be better.