Residents of Metta model village tend vegetable gardens.
THE Taiwan branch of the Theravada Samadhi Education Association on August 9 donated relief goods valued at US$1.8 million to 720 households in Metta model village in Kungyangon township, Yangon Division.
Twenty-six members of the association travelled to Metta to take part in the ceremony to donate the goods, which included clothing, kitchen utensils, canned foods and toys for each of the households.
The village consists of 736 houses built by the association after Cyclone Nargis devastated the Ayeyarwady delta in May 2008.
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement has granted permission for 720 of the houses to be occupied, with priority given to families who lost their homes during Nargis and lack the resources to rebuild, and those who are caring for disabled family members.
Ms Chang Ho Chin, the deputy secretary general of the Theravada Samadhi Education Association, said the group planned to build a total of 1024 houses in the village, as well as a one-storey, eight-classroom school building valued at $100,000 for the village’s 453 school children.
“At the moment some children from Metta village must travel [about 3.5 kilometres] to schools in Kungyangon, which takes time. We want them to have a school in their own village,” she said.
Metta resident Ko Saw Min Htut said 16 houses in the village are being used as temporary schools for children in the current academic year, with the new school building expected to open for the next academic year.
He added that the people living in the new village have come from different townships throughout the delta.
Indeed, Ms Chang said the association plans to collaborate with the Ministry of Energy, which since the cyclone has taken responsibility for post-Nargis development in the township, in supporting villagers with seeds, tools, fertilisers and agricultural knowledge so they can start planting more crops.
“We plan to use $2500 for the agriculture project and we plan to start as soon as we get permission from the government,” she said. “There are many resettlement programs planned for the village. We want to raise their living and education standards. We want to offer training courses for agriculture also.”
The Theravada Samadhi Education Association was established in 1998 by the Venerable Bodagama Chandima Thero, who is also an adviser to the president of Sri Lanka on international religious and cultural works.