A Bridge to the Future: Safer School Access for Some Myanmar Children

CWS Myanmar | July 31, 2017

CWS-village WASH team on the new bridge supported by our Week of Compassion friends at Maubin, Myanmar. Photo: Leslie Wilson

Inn Ma Su bridge before repairing. Photo: CWS

Maubin Township is a two-hour drive west from Yangon, and Inn Ma Su village is one hour’s drive from Maubin Township center during the dry season and about 1.5 hours – by boat — in the rainy season when all roads are flooded. About 1,400 people in 322 families live in Inn Ma Su and in nearby Kyone Cha, Ywar Ma and Sint Ku, and all these villages flood annually from July to September.

The rainy season presents challenges and risks for everyone, including children. From October to June it takes children about 40 minutes to walk to school, but it takes much longer, and is dangerous, in the rainy season because of the muddy paths and too much water – both deep standing and running. During the height of the rainy season children cannot walk to school at all; they must be taken by boat which takes even more time and is even more dangerous.

Recently, the Inn Ma Su Bridge Construction project gave Week of Compassion donors a chance to support these four communities to build a strong, new 90-foot long concrete bridge with the school children in mind. Community consultations, village leadership involvement and Water and Sanitation Committee members agreed on the design, including hand rails and a safe bridge surface, as well as construction plans and a budget – since they were committing to share costs by donating their labor. Ground work started in March, and the community laborers were supported by skilled masons who were closely supervised by a CWS engineer to ensure quality work for safety and sustainability. The bridge was done by the end of April in time for a mid-May inauguration and celebration.

Inn Ma Su bridge after repairing. Photo: CWS

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