Pupils soaking up Burmese culture

Pupils at Campie Primary School, Musselburgh, celebrate Burmese water festival.

Pupils at Campie Primary School, Musselburgh, celebrate Burmese water festival.

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A massive all-day water fight helped to bring the school year to a close for children in Musselburgh as they marked the occasion Burmese style.

More than 400 pupils at Campie Primary School celebrated Thingyan, a water festival traditionally held in Burma in April to bring in the New Year.

Several events were organised at the school, including an unmissable opportunity for the youngsters to soak their headteacher Debbie Beveridge.

“This was a wonderful event and it was lovely to see our young people have fun while learning such a lot about different cultures and countries,” said Mrs Beveridge.

Five years ago, the Musselburgh school established a partnership with the Child Development Centre (CDC), a Burmese refugee school in Mae Sot, Thailand.

Since then pupils have followed the plight of Burma as it has gone from a military dictatorship to a fledgling democracy and teachers from both schools have been involved in exchange visits between Burma and Scotland.

The children have also spoken about their link to Amnesty International and made a film about the partnership, which was shown to Glenys Kinnock during a visit to Westminster, in her role as opposition spokesperson for the Department of International Development in the House of Lords.

“This is an important and exciting part of our curriculum and teaches the children so much. It is very special to Campie school and to the children,” Mrs Beveridge added.

“Our Burma group, led by pupils and parent Gaynor Allen has worked hard to make the day possible, and it has been even better than we imagined. We will have to make Thingyan an annual event at Campie.”

Although the Burmese celebrate Thingyan in April – symbolising cleansing and purity – it was decided to move the event to June at Campie when the weather would be warmer and the children could enjoy it more.

The partnership between the two schools was initially funded by the UK Department for International Development and more recently by the Aung San Suu Kyi Educational Trust.

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