United World Schools Project

In line with our mission statement identifying ISY as a community of compassionate global citizens, and our vision to develop lifelong learners who will be a force for positive change in the world ISY set out eight strategic themes early in 2018. One of these strategic themes establishes service learning as a means to engage as global citizens. Service learning encourages students to work with the community, identify real needs and then provides our students with the opportunity to research, plan, reflect, discuss, and learn from their service experiences.

ISY has wanted to create a school wide initiative in this area and after investigating various options has decided to partner with the charity United World School (UWS). UWS is an organization that works with communities to develop schools. They build a school, train teachers from the local community, provide instructional materials, and support the school for ten years. After ten years, the goal is to turn the school over to the community and to monitor it from arms length at that point. UWS has worked in Cambodia for 10 years and has almost 100 schools there. It also works in Nepal but more recently has started working in Myanmar.

ISY has been investigating the possibility of working with UWS for some time culminating in a trip to Cambodia with a committee of 12 representatives of our community. These consisted of 6 members of staff, 3 parents and 3 high school students. Following this successful trip and further talks the committee voted unanimously to partner with the charity.

Through this trip, I had the opportunity to really think about this right, education, which I have felt was unfair how we were so different depending on which place you were born. The kids in the Cambodian school were not much different than my own brother and his friends. They all liked to play and laugh...

Boeun KIm (Puka), Grade 11

The next steps are the fundraising. In total, in the first year we need to raise $30,000 USD. The goal is to have $10,000 raised by December break and then the additional $20,000 by the end of the year. There will be a sports-a-thon fund-raising event on Saturday 8th December as the first event for this project. Sponsorship forms and Parent Consent forms can be downloaded here:

Sports-a-thon Sponsorship form
Sports-a-thon Consent form

We've also started the ISY Ice Bucket Challenge kicked off by Dr. Hedger. Go to Facebook and type in our hashtag into the search bar to find more videos - #isyicebucketchallenge

The business office have created a separate account for this project and donations can be made either directly at the business office or through our online portal. In the 'Student Name / description box, simply type in 'United World Schools Project'

To access the payment portal, click here:

With this link you can also download a guide on using the online payment system.

TD eBill Guide

As the project develops check back in to this page to get more updates and see how the fundraising is going..


What is the financial commitment for ISY?

ISY is planning to sponsor the school in Myanmar. The first year requires $30,000 to build the school. The following years require $10,000 per year to maintain the school. For more information about UWS school sponsorship, visit this UWS page.

Where will the UWS school be located?

Currently, UWS has established schools in Tachileik and Pekon in Shan State. They hope to expand to other areas in the future. We have requested the school we sponsor be accessible for us, however we will not know the exact location of the school until we have committed the initial funds. More information on the work UWS is doing in Myanmar can be found on their website.

How long will we be a partner for?

ISY intends to sponsor the building of a school, and then support it in successive years. This will be approximately 10 years. For more information about UWS school sponsorship, visit this UWS page.

Will other schools or organisations also partner with ‘our’ school?

ISY will be the only partner (sponsor) of the school we are matched with.

Do the students use the standard Myanmar educational curriculum?

Yes. This means that the students can transfer to other schools (government-run). The difference is UWS teachers are provided with professional development through UWS to use effective instructional strategies. ISY will have opportunities to be involved in this professional development, if we wish to be.

What will be the language of instruction and will English be taught?

The main language of instruction will be Burmese although some Shan will also be spoken initially to cater for children with limited Burmese. English will be taught as a subject as it is part of the Burmese curriculum.

What grades will the school have / what ages will the students be?

Currently, the UWS Myanmar schools provide schooling for primary school children (elementary school) Grades 1 - 4.

If the school is an elementary school (Grades 1 to 4 in the Myanmar system) how does UWS encourage children to further attend a middle school (Grades 5 to 8) and a high school (Grades 9 and 10)?

In Cambodia, UWS teamed up with a secondary school to provide boarding facilities so students who finished schooling in the village schools could go on to secondary school. They are exploring similar opportunities in Myanmar.

Does UWS provide school supplies to the students? Lunch?

Yes. Through the sponsorship we will be providing, all school costs for students are covered, including school supplies, uniform, lunch, and any other expenses/. This is another way for our school to engage with our partner school through classes at ISY taking on sponsorship of specific students.

Will we be able to visit the school and what grades at ISY might do this?

We are exploring ways to make visits a part of future Week Without Walls (WWW) trips. This will depend on the exact location of the school we sponsor. These trips might be folded into our existing WWW structure, or could be optional trips for students to choose to participate in.

Where will ISY students and staff stay when we visit the school?

ISY students and staff will stay in the local village.

How can a parent donate?

There will be a number of fundraising activities and any ideas for fundraising are welcome. The business office has a separate account set up for donations for this project and these can be made either online or directly at the business office.

What is UWS? How long have they been operating? Where are they based? In which other countries are they working?

UWS is a UK-based organization that has been working with communities in Cambodia to develop schools since 2008. UWS opened its first school in Nepal in 2016. It started working in Myanmar in 2013. For more information, visit the UWS home page

Will ISY teachers/administrators be able to do some teach the teachers training?

Yes, this is a possibility and is part of our initial plan.

Where will the money come from to fund the UWS school?

All the money to fund the school will come from fundraising activities within the ISY Community.

Will ISY need to have an additional staff dedicated to the management of this partnership?

No, UWS will run the school. There will be a committee of existing staff, students, and community members who will liaise with UWS and coordinate ways ISY can positively contribute to the UWS school through the Service Learning program.

How will this project benefit ISY students?

Participation in meaningful service projects gives students opportunities to develop skills beyond the classroom. The UWS partnership is expected to be an important element in ISY’s school-wide service learning program providing a vehicle to engage all of our students in the components of effective service learning. While projects like this look good on future college and employment applications, the most important aspect of this project is it contributes to developing a sense of compassion within a larger world view, supporting both the mission and vision of ISY.

How does the UWS partnership enhance ISY’s service learning?

An important part of the partnership is the opportunity for students and faculty from both schools to work together and develop a long-term relationship. ISY students are encouraged to think about the reasons behind the need for the service, engaging them with the school to identify real needs and then providing our students with the opportunity to research, plan, reflect, discuss, and learn from their service experiences in ways that help them to make connections to the community and to their larger world view. Ultimately, this ties into the ISY mission and vision.

Will we still be able to fund other service learning initiatives such as Yangon Animal Shelter and Community Kitchen?

Yes, ISY will continue to work with other organizations as part of the ISY Service Learning program.

To what extent will ISY be involved in the running of the school?

The school ISY sponsors will be a UWS managed school. UWS is responsible for all aspects of the school. ISY will provide sponsorship and can be as engaged with the school as much, or as little, as we wish. ISY will not run the school.

What grades at ISY will participate in working with the UWS school?

The program will be a school wide initiative, providing all students to engage in different types of learning. That doesn’t mean that all grades will actually visit the school.

How will ISY deal with communication challenges due to language barriers?

ISY is lucky to have many Burmese speakers at the school who can help with this issue. UWS are experienced at working with sponsors who do not share a common language with the students and this was highlighted during the recent trip to Cambodia where the language barrier did not present a problem.

To what extent are local Myanmar individuals involved in the current projects in Myanmar?

UWS works alongside the local community to build schools. Local community members are trained as teachers. At all times, the local Myanmar community is engaged and a part of the process. For more information on how UWS works with the local community, please visit the Myanmar section of their website.

To what extent is UWS working with the Myanmar government?

UWS is in contact with, and works alongside the Myanmar Ministry of Education. UWS has met with the Minister of Education for the Shan State, who has endorsed their work and given them the license to operate. UWS does not develop a school in a community unless it is invited to.

How can we be sure the UWS school will be successful?

  1. Stability: UWS work exclusively with post-conflict and stable communities. They work with both the community and local government to manage risks on an ongoing basis.
  2. Land rights: UWS checks land rights and community ownership at the very early stages of village reconnaissance. They only build schools where the land allocation is safe and appears fair to the whole community
  3. How is UWS different: The main ways are that UWS is locally anchored but with a national licence to operate. Their teams visit regularly and have developed a sustainable funding model which means that schools won’t be abandoned. To-date they have built 148 schools in ten years and all are still operating.