It is now five years since we came upon and decided to support Pylone Chantha orphanage and primary school, run by two monks.

Although it is still remains very basic, we are very happy with the improvements and stability that has been achieved.

This year, thanks to all the contributions we received, when we visited, they were very proud to be able to show us that they had finally taken down the rotten old leaking roof over the sleeping area, done an extension and installed a new roof.

See photos for reference.

Our first priority remains the children's education. With four full time teachers, the primary school now provides proper education and can follow the national curriculum. It also welcomes children from the surrounding area.

There are still around 36 orphans in residence. Over the year, some left and some new little ones arrived. Although it originated as a monastry with only boys, due to the necessity, after Hurricane Nargis five years ago, they also took in little girls. Despite this being untraditional, we insisted that they continue to take in little girls as well as little boys.

This year seven of the children graduated from the primary school and are now going to an outside national secondary school.

Overall, we still really love the place. They are very humble in their lifestyle and happy. Now the children have become at ease with us. They are very affectionate. They always sit right beside us and hold our hands. We play english educational games with them and help them discover all the new books and flash card games we brought with us, to encourage them to learn english.

This year for the first time, we took six of them out one afternoon for a walk through the town. Since they do that walk daily for their alms collection, they are very well known and everybody wanted to know what they were doing with us. We could feel that they were so proud to have us as their friends.

The Sayadaw (Head Monk) and the children would like to express their gratitude to everyone who has helped their cause. They still get no other funding from any official source.

In April, we will once again be holding our annual fundraising dinner at Hibernia, and we also welcome any donations throughout the year, if you would like to take part in this project.

Mary Pat and Raoul