The most destructive natural disaster in Myanmar’s history stuck the Irrawaddy Delta region on May 3, 2008. Over 100,000 people died and more than 1 million struggled to survive in the hardest-hit areas in the aftermath of the storm. The lush rice fields, farming families and water buffalo of the delta were wiped out. Damage was felt in the capitol Yangon as well. Myanmar’s military rulers at that time initially resisted aid from the global community, causing outrage and shock around the world.
How Myanmar Children’s Foundation (MCF) responded to Cyclone Nargis
Given this desperate scenario, MCF quickly partnered with an all-volunteer local organization, the Civic Society Initiative (CSI), an on-the-ground association of doctors and volunteers in Yangon, who delivered supplies and treated the injured in the surrounding countryside over the next several weeks and months. MCF funneled money from donors in the United States to CSI within two weeks of the disaster striking and continued to stay in contact with those on the ground overseeing the lifesaving outreach. CSI and local charitable group Metta Moe implemented a new MCF-funded project at Zabu Oak Shaung Nunnery School, a free school run by Buddhist nuns for children in Myanmar’s delta area whose families were affected by Cyclone Nargis. In June 2008, there were more than 100 children at the school in very crowded conditions. With MCF funding of $9,515, a new two story classroom facility and toilets were built. Rain coats and slippers for supplied to all students, and the salaries of eight teachers for the 2008-2009 school year were paid. MCF has continued to support Zabu Oak Shaung with both its Teacher Corps and Stay in School Programs. Today there are over 300 children at this site and several other buildings have been constructed.