Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Primary pupils learn of Burma by "tent arrest"

Campie pupil, Marley Gibson
Image caption Pupils will be held in a tent for 20 minutes unable to leave or speak

East Lothian primary school pupils are to be held under "tent arrest" to highlight the plight of one of the world's famous political prisoners.

Campie School pupils in Musselburgh are to be taken from the classroom by "police" and held for 20 minutes.

The event will mark the 65th birthday of Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest in Burma for 14 of the past 20 years.

It is hoped it will raise awareness of people living in military dictatorship.

Pupils have been learning about Suu Kyi, pro-democracy leader and Nobel Laureate, as part of a Global Schools Partnership with Burma.

They also had a visit from Sau Aung Thant, a student who spent three years in a Burmese labour camp for taking part in a peaceful protest to honour a monk.

He was not allowed to return to university on his release, and was left the country by travelling three days non-stop hidden in a van after he was found putting up political posters.

Image caption Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for 14 of the last 20 years

Aung Thant, who has been studying at Newbattle Abbey College in Midlothian, is convinced he would have "disappeared" if he had been caught.

He said: "It was very good to be able to come to Campie school and speak to the children.

"It is good to share stories about our countries and to let people know here what is happening in Burma."

Campie's headteacher Sheila Laing introduced Global Schools after setting up a partnership at her previous school, Forthview Primary School in Edinburgh.

She said: "I was hoping Campie would want to set up a link with another Burmese school, but was overwhelmed with the level of support from both the children and parents.

"This is essentially about friendship, but we have being fundraising recently to help pay for visas to get four Burmese teachers over here to schools in the area.

"When Sau Aung Thant visited Campie to speak to the children you could have heard a pin drop.

"The children were so engaged and so interested in his story that no-one made a sound. Teachers were wiping away the tears, it was very moving."

Campie youngsters are writing to Burmese pen friends and three Campie teachers and headteacher Sheila Laing are going to visit their partner school, the Burmese Child Development Centre in Mae Sot on the border of Burma and Thailand.

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