Only a few kilometers away from Tat Ein village in Shan State, on the other side of the mountain, and down some incredibly difficult to navigate dirt roads, is the small village of Lwe Kin. Actually, there is a Lwe Kin South and a Lwe Kin North. I visited the northern village. Not only is this village more remote than Tat Ein, it’s even poorer.
My friend Htein Linn knows two of the teachers at the primary school in Lwe Kin and tries to encourage tourists to visit when they have time. Of course, getting them there is the big challenge. You have to make the journey on foot, by bike (and half of that journey involves getting off your bike and pushing it up hills or across ditches), or find someone with a motorcycle. The first time I visited, two years ago, I took a bike. Uh, never again. The last two trips Htein Linn borrowed his brother’s motorcycle to take us. With money from donations, Htein Linn juggles several projects at the school each year. He is currently making arrangements to have new washrooms and toilets built for the students.
Sadly, one of the most difficult challenges is persuading parents in Lwe Kin to let their children attend classes. Many poor families living in the area consider their kids to be valuable workers that can help them earn extra income, thus some parents would rather have the children helping them in the fields than letting them go to school. But once they are in class, some of these children really thrive. If you visit Nyaungshwe and the Inle Lake area, consider a short trip to see this school. Htein Linn at Golden Bowl Travel can fill you in on all the details.