Dear friends and supporters of our Teacher Training Programs here in Myanmar,
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.
Dear Family, Friends and Supporters of Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre,
Thanks to all of your support we are now entering our busiest period for the café with a renewed sense of confidence. We took the time during the rainy period to further improve the interior of the café and are delighted with the natural look and feel of the space. Pine tables and the earthen counter blend beautifully to create a calming environment for weary travellers and locals alike to rest and enjoy our culinary delights! We also took the time to experiment with new ice cream flavours and a range of exciting baked goods including …… , the response to which have been fantastic!
As many of you know the café supports the Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre which is a collaborative environment in which young people can join us and learn what it takes to run a small business. We work to empower individuals and groups such as monastic schools to set up social enterprises of their own. We are therefore delighted to announce that our interns Hani and Char Tae who have spent the last nine months with us have launched their own venture here in Kalaw. Their business Clover is a shop for traditional and innovative products such as bags, cards and natural soap all made by differently abled individuals who struggle to find employment. The girls have done an amazing job and are providing a much needed market for these beautiful products. We wish them all the best with their venture and hope to see it go from strength to strength.
In October we hosted a small group of young people from all over Myanmar who were meeting in Kalaw and Pyin Oo Lwin to learn about social enterprise. Exposure visits like this are key in helping educate young people about the power of business to do good and, to inspire them to believe in their potential to make a difference. The group was incredibly engaging and are interested in starting a café of their own so we gave them a baking lesson.
We look forward to a busy few months for the café and thank you all again for your support. It’s a been a long journey but the pace of change in Myanmar is now accelerating and we are excited to be part of a movement for a stronger more democratic and equal Myanmar.
Dear Family, Friends and Supporters of Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
We are now in the middle of the rainy season and things are moving along with the café. We now have two new interns living and working with us from the Dry Zone.
Char and Hanni are both very interested in all we have to offer here at Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre and will be staying with us for several months to help with the project and learn all they can. They aim to move back to their native town and open a small yoga studio with café and restaurant. We are thrilled to have them helping us and are excited we can support their dreams!
Char’s mother is a natural medicine practitioner and we are starting to explore options for her to make regular visits to the learning centre to offer holistic treatment for patients and workshops on natural medicine. She taught us how to make a great medicine with jaggery and aloe vera.
We also had a young high school student from South Korea come and volunteer with us. We were excited to have him here at the project and he shared about Korean culture through cooking and a variety of games. It was a great exchange!
We have continued to work on the café space and recently built an earthen counter in the café. We experimented with several different lime plaster techniques and even experimented with a new kind of natural earth render called tadelekt which will make the finish completely smooth and water proof.
It is the middle of the rainy season and this means thing are a bit slow. We continue to work on new products, slowly planting the outside space with more trees, veggies and herbs and also our continued work with trainings. We also continue to work on all of our products with special focus on our seasonal ice creams!!! Dragonfruit, strawberry, mango and more!!!
We thank you for all of your support!