Photo Essay: School Doors Remain Closed for Kachin State IDPs

Villagers are returning, but schools are yet to re-open.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

While internally displaced people (IDPs) have returned to their village of Mung Dein Pa in Kachin State’s Mansi Township, their children remain unable to go to school

Schools in the community remain closed due to eight years of fighting in Kachin State, dating back to the breakdown of a 17-year ceasefire between the Kachin Independence Army and the Burma Army in 2011.

NMG5Children are pictured carrying water in plastic jugs in Mung Dein Pa. “We have many difficulties. There is no schoolteacher in the school,” a local told NMG. “This is a big village. There are over 300 families living here. We haven’t built new houses. We are living in our old houses after fixing them.” (Photo: Hpauyam La Awng)

NMG3Locals are trying to open this closed post-primary school for the first time in eight years. Even though there is a building, there is no teacher in the school. (Photo:Hpauyam La Awng)

NMG8A nursery school, damaged by neglect due to the war, is also closed (Photo:Hpauyam La Awng)

NMG4With permission from the government, IDPs who had taken refuge in Hpan Hkar Kawng camp in Bhamo town, returned into their village in May. These children were among them.

“They didn’t take any assistance from the Tatmadaw,” another IDP told NMG. “They returned to their village individually. They managed their own return.” (Photo:Hpauyam La Awng)

NMG2An empty classroom in a school for which preparations are being made to re-open it. (Photo:Hpauyam La Awng)

NMG6IDPs who had taken refuge in a camp run by the Kachin Baptist Convention in Muse Township, Shan State, returned home on May 15. Locals said that their houses were not ready and that the children in the community are also facing difficulties returning to school. (Photo:Hpauyam La Awng)

NMG1The Kachin State government sent 13 teachers to work in a school in Nam San Yang in Waingmaw Township on June 6, the site of another IDP return project. The school doors have yet to reopen. (Photo:Hpauyam La Awng)