Dear Friends and Family….
We are delighted to share our latest news with you. Things have really picked up over the last few months. We have been fully functioning during the highest tourist season here in Kalaw. For the last three months that café has been bustling with people and lots of energy in the kitchen and the bakery!
We finished the inside seating area, designed in a comfortable U shape for lounge sitting and several new tables were finished. As it is still the cool season in Kalaw, people are enjoying the outside seating in the garden area and we have planted a variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers around the yard.
We also have been very busy with several new products, including the very popular Passion Fruit Ice Cream and new Salted Caramel Chocolate Chunk ice cream. Our whole grain breads are a huge treat for everyone, locals and foreigners.
Char Tate and Hanni who were living with us as interns for the last 7 months have now decided that they are ready to open their own shop. They started with a small shop selling recycled products here in Kalaw and now they are planning to open a small café and ice cream shop in Meiktila, the small town down the mountain in the dry zone. They feel they have learned all they need and are now ready to venture out on their own.
This opens more space for a few more young girls to come in and get training in the café and bakery. We are excited to share more news about their progress in the next report!!!
All of us at Sprouting Seeds
Dear friends and supporters of our Teacher Training Programs here in Myanmar,
We are happy to share some further images of the bamboo roof structure from the Shwenadi Monastic School building project. We are now in the process of designing the walls of the training hall and hope to start soon!!
In January, we had the privilege to travel far into the Eastern part of Shan State. We met a monk who has been part of our trainings and he has requested us to do some work with him on a new land that he recently received. He runs a small monastic school and hopes to open a larger school for children living in the rural area of that part of Shan State who have no access to schools.
We traveled over 12 hours in a caravan with four vehicles and over 30 Buddhist monks to see the new land and site for the new school and training centre. On our way, we were able to visit many small, very rural Shan schools. We worked with the young monks who then were able to lead the Play for Peace sessions with the children out in the forest. It was an amazing time!!
The land for the school and training centre is in the middle of a pristine river and the land is a 65 acre island with over 20 waterfalls dotted throughout the island in the river. We spent several days assessing the land and discussing possibilities for the protection of the land and the development of the school and training centre. We are looking forward to starting working with the local teams over the next few months. We will work with teacher training, and design for the land and other projects.
We are looking forward to sharing more updates on the trainings we will be providing for the groups in Eastern Shan State over the next few months. In the meantime, we continue our work in Northern Myanmar, Kachin State and will be traveling there this coming week to continue work on the development of the community school which will now also act as a children’s orphanage to house many of the children currently caught in the conflict in Kachin State. We are also working with our Kachin partners planning a trip to the International Democratic Education Conference, which will happen in Israel at the end of the month. Keep posted for more details!!
In our last report we updated you on the natural building training program we conducted at Shwenadi Monastic School. The school in the dry zone houses about 450 children, the majority of whom are girls, and does a great deal of work in fostering environmentally friendly practices within its own grounds and amongst the local community. We brought over a team of expert bamboo builders from Indonesia to help teach local craftsmen how to build with bamboo and begin construction of new training hall.
We are delighted to announce work on the building’s roof is now complete. It is so heartening to see how the local team absorbed the new skills with such diligence and mastery to create an amazing focal point for the school. In addition to the physical benefits of having much needed new training space Shwenadi has seen a number of high profile visits as a result of our work there. This has attracted more resources to this wonderful monastic school and is helping improve the educational experience of all its students each and every day.
Regular supporters of our work will know this is our second major bamboo construction project. The first being a community school building in Myitkyina, Kachin State northern Myanmar. Despite their initial reservations about building with earth the community is delighted with their classroom and is now fundraising to build further community schools. We will provide support with the design and technical questions but are so happy to see how the community are taking this forward independently and wish them all the best in providing vital education infrastructure to these oft neglected communities.
As part of our work with Socially Engaged Monastic Schools we conducted Permaculture training during their annual teacher training program. We are honoured to work with such progressive partners who understand the value of holistic education. The teachers were given an introduction to permaculture including practical work making terraced medicinal herb beds and sheet mulching the raised beds which will be use chicken tractor model, and even did a wonderful herb spiral.