KHRG Photo Gallery: 2005 : Education and 'Development' Projects

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KHRG Photo Gallery: 2005 : Education and 'Development' Projects

Published date:
Thursday, April 6, 2006

This photo gallery covers education and so-called development in Karen State.

'Development' is embedded even in the name of Burma's ruling SPDC junta, but it is common to hear people in Burma complain that they never see any benefits of development.  This is not primarily because of lack of resources, but because villagers are never consulted about 'development'.  When the SPDC plans a road, clinic or school, it is simply imposed without warning on the villagers, who are forced to pay for it, provide the materials for it, build it, maintain it, and feed the soldiers who guard it.  The state then proclaims the project as a great gift it has given to the local people.  It is therefore not surprising that people in Burma have a sarcastic attitude toward 'development'.  Without anything being provided by the state, many villagers set up their own schools or supply lines for their own medicines; but these are targeted for destruction by the SPDC, which attacks anything it does not control.

Though international organisations in Burma try to at least put on a show of consulting local people, SPDC restrictions usually prevent them from effectively doing so, and restrictions on their activities also ensure that they can do little more than simple 'bandaid' solutions which cannot touch the root causes of the serious health, nutrition, poverty and other problems faced by villagers.  A simple example of this is the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) presence in Kler Lah village of Toungoo district, which has been restricted to building water taps and toilet blocks while SPDC troops conduct major military  operations destroying villages, burning fields and killing villagers in the entire district surrounding Kler Lah, none of which the ICRC is allowed to actively address or even speak about.

For additional photos and information see also the Health and Education subsections in the Women , Children , and Flight and Displacement sections of KHRG Photo Set 2005A .