Aug 11, 2016

10th Report for Rural Teacher Training in Myanmar

Building the bamboo training centre in dry zone
Building the bamboo training centre in dry zone

Dear friends and supporters of our Teacher Training Programs here in Myanmar.

 

We have had yet another very busy few months here in Myanmar. It is now the middle of the rainy season and things have settled down a bit as we make plans for the next few months.


During the last months, we have been focusing some of our energies on sharing new skills in earth and bamboo construction. We have been working with a team of Indonesian trainers who are bringing these new skills of treating, constructing and sustainable propagation of bamboo.

 

Our focus in has been on the development of one of the Buddhist monastic schools which we work with in the Dry Zone of Myanmar. Shwenadi monastic school is home to almost 450 ethnic Chin children. We have been supporting the monk to build a sustainable training centre at the school, made of mud and constructed with bamboo framing and roofing.

 

We constructed the first training hall to accommodate over 60 participants. The next buildings will include sleeping accommodation for the participants, a dining hall and kitchen and accommodation for the trainers.

 

This is a long term project aimed at building the capacity of the locals involved in the project. Part of the work is to train a group of local Myanmar workers to become skilled trainers in bamboo treatment, construction and propagation.

 

The training was a huge success and over 80 participants showed for the first two days. The rest of the training had over 35 participants all the way until the end of the training. We have made plans to continue supporting the monastery to finish the building over the next few months.

 

Besides the building at Shwenadi, we are now planning two more bamboo trainings to support the development of another school and learning center in Southern Shan State working primarily with ethnic Pa-O communities.

 

During the last few months we also supported another trip to Thailand with a group of Senior Buddhist monks and nuns from Myanmar to learn about holistic education, community development and sustainability. Our work with SEMS (Socially Engaged Monastic Schools) will continue.

 

We are looking forward to share more news as the next projects begin in the coming months!!!

 

Warmly,

Jim 

Bamboo team learning new skills
Bamboo team learning new skills
Mt Poppa in background of new training centre
Mt Poppa in background of new training centre
New bamboo buildings skills
New bamboo buildings skills
Monks and nuns learning holistic education
Monks and nuns learning holistic education
Monks and nuns closing circle for learning trip
Monks and nuns closing circle for learning trip
May 19, 2016

7th Report for Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre

Setting up for cafe
Setting up for cafe

7th Report for Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre Myanmar

March 19th, 2016

 

Dear Family, Friends and Supporters of Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre

 

As we approach Thingyan, the water festival and, Myanmar’s New Year’s holiday, we look forward to a very new beginning. For the first time in over sixty years the country has a democratically elected leadership and change appears to be coming fast. While there is much to be hopeful about, rapid development and the opening of borders also brings new challenges. It is therefore important that all of us working here in Myanmar continue to respect the long history and rich culture of this beautiful country and it’s people.

 

Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre Development

 

Café Opening

February saw Sprouting Seeds Café and bakery open it’s doors for the first time. After a month of intensive woodworking preparing tables, building counters for the baking area and deck chairs for the garden we were ready to welcome our first customers. We aimed for a soft opening with limited space and marketing to give us time to test our product and our processes. We are happy to report things went very well with great feedback on the quality of the food, the service and the concept for the training center. One of our customers even designed a map of town for us to be shared with local businesses and hotels.   We also ran some small cooking lessons for a limited number of customers, which were received very positively. Given the limited number of activities in Kalaw

 

Partner in USA

We view Sprouting Seeds as a community first and foremost and are always delighted when groups or individuals share the journey with us. It is with great pleasure therefore that we announce the opening of a café at the ???????Middle School where are group of “Sprouting Seeds Juniors” have launched their own café with the aims of supporting our work here in Myanmar. The leadership of their teacher who we met on a trip here has been instrumental in their achievements and we are so proud they are part of our network and hope to invite all the children to visit us one day.

 

Earthen Counter

Sustainability is key to all that we do here at Sprouting Seeds and wherever possible we want to showcase ways for others to work more sustainably or use more sustainable materials.  As such the training center is a great platform to inspire others to use more natural materials. Therefore we were delighted when an Earthen Builder from Spain came to join us in March and helped build a cob counter for the café. This has already sparked so many conversations with people about the versatility of the material and its aesthetic appeal. Several local community members have already talked about building something for themselves with cob with two joining us for two days to learn how to work with this incredible material.

 

Strawberry Ice Cream Season

With the start of spring came avocado and strawberry season. We have thoroughly enjoyed working with new recipes making a variety of strawberry treats from ice cream, butter cakes, smoothies, fruit bars and jams. With the weather heating up we now look forward to mango season…our favorite time of the year!

Hand made tables and chairs at the centre
Hand made tables and chairs at the centre
Apr 11, 2016

9th Report for Rural Teacher Training in Myanmar

Community Building in Nawng Nang Kachin State
Community Building in Nawng Nang Kachin State

Greeting All!!!

 

As weather heats up here in Kalaw, we are moving closer to the Myanmar new years festival known as Thingyan. The last 3 months continue to keep us busy working with teachers and schools around the country.

 

Recently we have been focusing on natural building, specifically on teaching  preservation and building with bamboo. We have held 3 different trainings in 3 different 

 

Nawng Nang Community School (Kachin State)

Together with partners in Kachin State, we are supporting the development of 13 community schools. We are offering support through trainings in earthen and bamboo building, in order to build the capacity of locals in order that they can build their own schools.

 

Ja Noi is a 23 year old teacher living and working in the Nawng Nang community about 40 minutes outside the city of Myitkyina in Kachin State. She is a new teacher working with Grade 1 and has been active in the design and building of the school with her students. She and her students helped in the actual design of the building and helped in mixing the mud for the mud bricks and also building the walls and foundation. It has been a true community engagement process!

 

We have spent the last few months working on brick making and then building a beautiful stone foundation for the 2 new classrooms.  During February and March we focused on building the walls of the classrooms and now in Mid-April we will bring in the Indonesian trainers to teach all of us how to work with bamboo and build the magnificent bamboo roof.

 

Naung Taung Monastic School as Eco School Model (Southern Shan State)

On January 9-8th we hosted the first of our series of Bamboo Workshops here in Myanmar. Together with local facilitators and one expert bamboo trainer, we taught a group of 40 participants from all over Myanmar how to preserve bamboo using a heated borax method. The participants came from monastic schools, church schools, community schools, NGO’s and community development projects. During the training we built the first treatment tanks and taught the process of treating the bamboo which will allow the bamboo used in buildings and schools which usually last only 3-5 years, a much longer and more sustainable lasting time of 30-40 years!

 

The training was a huge success and 2 groups of participants were then able to replicate the training and build tanks in Myikyina, Kachin State and Kyaubadaung, Dry Zone.  The team at Naung Taung Monastic School, serving over 1,500 ethnic Pa-O children, currently continues to process and treat bamboo in order for our 2nd workshop there in November to build the first eco classroom there using earth and bamboo.

 

Shwenadi Monastic School (Kyaubadaung, Dry Zone)

This monastic school situation in the Dry Zone of Myanmar, serves almost 500 ethnic Chin children who come from along the Indian border. Part of the reason for choosing the monastery to work with is because of the Head monk, U Yuzana, has been very active in community development and environmental projects. We had already worked with their teachers previously providing holistic education training and now we are working at ‘greening’ their campus to be a sustainable model within Myanmar.

 

Using Permaculture design principles for the entire campus of the school and building with earth and bamboo, we are now supporting the senior Buddhist abbot to have a training center which will be used for his school, the local community and the network of CBO’s (Community Based Organizations) which work with them throughout the country.

 

We are now in the process of making bricks and starting the foundation of Training Hall, Kitchen and Dining Hall, Trainer and Trainee accommodation. All of the buildings will be made of earthen adobe bricks and the roof structure will be bamboo.

 

In July, another team of Indonesian bamboo experts will arrive for a second Bamboo Construction Workshop here in Myanmar. Treatment tank workshop has already been held and bamboo is just starting to be treated in preparation for the workshop in July.

 

National Network for Education Reform (NNER)

Together with one of our partners here in Myanmar, Socially Engaged Myanmar Society (SEMS), we support the newly formed NNER to attend an exposure tour in Thailand to look at education and community development projects. NNER is working on education reform in Myanmar and aiming to revise the national curriculum of the country.

 

We continue to work with NNER for training sessions here in Myanmar and also for a second possible exposure tour in India to explore holistic education and mother tongue language in schools.

 

As you can see, it has been yet another busy few months and we are excited to share the next projects with you in 3 months time.

 

Warmly,

Jim 

Kachin students making bricks for their school
Kachin students making bricks for their school
Bamboo Treatment Tank Training in Pa-O community
Bamboo Treatment Tank Training in Pa-O community
Shwenadi Sustainable Training Center in Monastery
Shwenadi Sustainable Training Center in Monastery
Shwenadi monk "greening" his monastic school
Shwenadi monk "greening" his monastic school
View of Mt Poppa from Shwenadi Training Center
View of Mt Poppa from Shwenadi Training Center
 
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