8th Report for Rural Teacher Training in MyanmarDecember 19th, 2015
Dear friends, family and supporters of our Teacher Training Programs in Myanmar,
We are pleased to share with you another report on the progress of the Teacher Training Programs here in Myanmar. As usual, it has been a busy three month period with many activities.
In particular, November was an extremely busy month as several trainers and volunteers were working with us to share a variety trainings here in Myanmar.
Play for Peace in MyanmarOur dear friends from India, Swati and Agyat, skilled Play for Peace trainers joined us for the entire month. We first met Swati and Agyat in Thailand several years ago and since that time have been planning for them to come and work with us here in Myanmar.
Along with the support of American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Socially Engaged Monastic Schools (SEMS), we were able to organize 5 Play for Peace Trainings. We began with Play for Peace Training of Trainers (TOT) in Bago Region for a select group of skilled trainers, facilitators, community leaders and teachers. Key trainers joined the training from Myanmar, Laos and Thailand to make it an International Training for Trainers.
Following this, we moved to the central region of Myanmar to host another training at Phaung Daw Oo Monastic School. We then joined with Brighten Foundation and together a group of 6 trainers went to Southern Shan State to lead a Play for Peace and Youth Empowerment Training with a group of Pa-O youth from Naung Taung Monastic School and two youth groups from nearby Taunggyi.
Several Play for Peace groups were established and are now sharing their activities with each other throughout Myanmar and with the global Play for Peace community.
Swati and Agyat will return to Myanmar in June to do a followup series of trainings for alumni of the first trainings held in November and to reach into new regions of Myanmar to share Play for Peace. In February, a select group of alumni from the Myanmar trainings will also register to be certified Play for Peace trainers in Myanmar. We are grateful for Swati and Agyats amazing energy and commitment to sharing these skills with children and community members throughout Myanmar!
Democratic and Holistic Education Training Part III in Kachin StateAs you may recall from previous reports, I have been working in Kachin State with several local groups to provide trainings for teachers in Holistic and Democratic models of education, and focusing on child development as well as sharing trainings with local communities in earthen building to support on going process of building a number of community based schools with sustainable buildings.In November, as we went to Kachin State to share the Play for Peace trainings, I also had the chance to run the 3rd Training in Holistic Education as part of a series we have been providing to teachers from Kachin State over the last year. During this training we met with the same participants from the previous two trainings as well as new teachers.
The focus was on Child Development and specifically the development of the human brain and better understanding how the brain grows and how as teachers and parents we can use that knowledge to better address the needs of our developing children. The three day training was a huge success and we are looking forward to heading back up to Kachin State in the early part of 2016 to share the 4th Part of the trainings focusing on the Teenage Years and Tools for Parents.
Earthen Building in Kachin StateAs part of our ongoing work with partner organizations in Kachin State, we are now supporting the development of 13 community schools by providing earthen building trainings. All of the local community schools are excited to learn earthen building so the communities can build their own schools.
In November we also taught a 2 Day Earth Brick workshop to 40 participants from several different communities around Kachin State. During the workshop we introduced the importance of earthen building as a community building process and introduced several topics, including some team building games from Play for Peace. We were able to make several hundred mud bricks and did the first site assessment for the building of the new school.
In January, I will return with our friend Richard, a New Zealand architect working with us who is based in Myanmar and Thailand. Together we will design the new school for the community just outside Myitkyina using Permaculture principles and earthen building. The preliminary design is for 6 classrooms, a library, administration building and play ground. Since we have left, the community has already made several thousand bricks in preparation for Phase II workshop where we will put in the foundation, site design and put up the walls of the first classroom.
We are very excited for the second workshop scheduled for January 14-19th.
Bamboo Treatment Tank Workshop at Pa-O Monastery in Southern Shan StateAs part of our work to support the sustainable development of monastic schools here in Myanmar we will be hosting the first of a series of Bamboo and Earth Building Workshops. On January 8-9th we will be hosting the Bamboo Treatment Tank workshop where we will train builders from all over Myanmar who are working in community development to build treatment tanks. The trainers will come from Thailand and Southern Shan State to build the tanks.
The first tanks will be started in Naung Taung Monastic School in preparation for the 2nd workshop in March where we will be joined by Indonesian trainers to lead the building of the bamboo classroom. Following this initial treatment tank workshop, there will be following workshops in the Dry Zone in Kyaubadaung at Shwenadi monastic school and another workshop in Kachin State so that we will have 3 areas focusing on the treatment of bamboo for sustainable and long lasting building projects. We are looking forward to sharing more about the next training we will be providing from now until March.
We will be working closely with the Head Monk of Shwenadi Monastic School pictured here to set up a Sustainable Training Centre at his monastery and to work with his students to make it an Eco Temple.
7th Report for Rural Teacher Training in MyanmarSeptember 16th , 2015
It is the middle of the rainy season here in Myanmar and we continue to support teachers and students through our programs. Although the rainy season brings a slight lull in our trainings due to the weather, we have stayed quite busy. We are excited to share with you some of the most recent developments in our training programs to support the teachers and youth here in Myanmar to gain better access to new tools, techniques, methods and practices which support the holistic development of children.
New Integrated Sustainable Design for Buddhist MonasteriesTogether with our colleagues Richard and Cheryl from New Zealand, we have started to support the development of several of the Buddhist monastic schools to become model sustainable schools. Using basic Permaculture (sustainable design principles) and earthen building techniques, we are working with the senior abbots, teachers and students to develop their schools to be designed in a more environmentally friendly manner. Together we are working to set up; new sustainable buildings, alternative power sources with solar, recycling and compost systems, organic gardens, edible landscapes, playgrounds and more. We are working with several other partner organizations to compliment and support their trainings in order to create a handful of model schools throughout the country. Currently we are working with Shwenadi Monastic School in Magway Division in the Dry Zone which works with primarily ethnic Chin children and Naung Taung Monastic School located in Southern Shan State working primarily with ethnic Pa-O children.
Bamboo Treatment, Bamboo and Earthen Building and Resilient Bamboo Forestry As part of the work with our friends from New Zealand, we are now working to support a series of on going trainings to be held here in Myanmar to support the further sustainable development of a few of the monastic schools we are working with. Together with partner organizations from Indonesia, we will be starting to host the first series of bamboo workshops in Myanmar.
Training of Trainers (TOT) for Monastic SchoolsTogether with our partner organizations, Socially Engaged Monastic Schools (SEMS) and Center for Promotion of Monastic Education (CPME) we held our second Training of Trainers. The training brought together alumni from several different teacher training programs to provide further skills training and to better develop their capacity, not just as teachers, but for them to also step into the role of training in order to further spread the new methodologies and knowledge on holistic education.
Testimonial from Teacher Training Participant"The training has started a real change in me. I had a very traumatic childhood. I was always discriminated against in school; therefore I developed a habit of isolating myself from others. I hated working with others. I know these behaviors are bad but I couldn't help myself to abandon them even when I became a teacher. I used to be sad, feel powerless and cried often. I didn't expect that SEMS training would bring a change in me. At first in the training I couldn't describe how frustrated I was. I didn't enjoy being with other people in the training. But gradually I started to learn and like working with others. I began to enjoy talking with other people. I started to abandon my habit of crying whenever I am frustrated. And I began to see that other people are the same and we all are the same. Actually since my experience of discrimination I have to admit that I hate the Bamar people. But now I can reflect on that and change my attitude. This is one of the biggest changes in my life! Due to the self-awareness training I have learned to change my old attitudes and behaviors."
UpcomingAs the rainy season will come to an end over the next few months, our schedule will get even more busy. We have several trainings already lined up over the next few months, which include: Play for Peace trainers from India to come to Myanmar for one month of training, Brighten Foundation Youth Empowerment and Soccer trainings to be held across the country in November, Earthen Building Trainings to be held in Kachin State to finish kindergarten, further Training of Trainers with partner organizations in Kachin State, Upper Myanmar, further Permaculture and Earthen Building Design for monastic schools.
Dear Family, Friends and Supporters,
We are happy to share the latest news from our Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre. As many of you know the Learning Centre will be the base for our trainings and the location of our social enterprise The Sprouting Seeds café, bakery and eco-shop. It’s been a busy few months as we edge closer to the opening of the café and we continue to deliver trainings and support initiatives across Myanmar.
6 Month Internship with Shalat Education Resource Center (Kachin State)Back in April we ran an intensive training for students from Shalat Education Resource Center based in Myitkyina, Kachin State in Northern Myanmar. (See 4th Report) The exchange helped the students build a variety of skills they could then use to implement new programs back at their school. As part of the exchange the students taught us wood working helping them build their confidence and giving us valuable new skills.
Two of the students, Grace and Bawk Mai, were so inspired by the training that they now hope to open a small café. To further this aspiration they have returned to Kalaw to spend six months with us working on the café so they can experience first hand every aspect of running a small business.
Together with Aye Aung, the girls have been working diligently on getting the café and bakery open and helping to facilitate the trainings.
DevelopEd School (Lashio, Northern Shan State)We have been working with DevelopEd, a small pre-collegiate program for ethnic youth based in Northern Shan State for the past two years. These youth have limited opportunities and are routinely discriminated against. In July we set up a five day training program for the students and teachers of DevelopEd . The group and their teacher joined us in Kalaw where we taught them a variety of skills including baking and cooking of western dishes and breads, ice cream making, handicrafts and yoga.
The group is currently working on business proposals as part of their third year school projects and are thinking of starting a small café as part of their efforts to gain skills and raise funds for the school.
We have future trainings set up with DevelopEd to continue to support their work in Lashio.
Ngaung Shwe Buddhist Youth Group (Inle Lake, Southern Shan State)In the famous tourist area of Inle Lake in the town of Ngaung Shwe, we have been working with a multi ethnic group of lower income youths. They are working on livelihood generation projects including an eco shop and crafts which we have been supporting. Our latest training with them was around environmental awareness. We aimed to give them the tools and knowledge to advance their efforts in environmental protection in what has sadly become a highly polluted part of the country.
Opening of Shop in our Centre in KalawIn August we were joined for a few weeks by the ex Senior Director of UnLtd India an incubator for social enterprises based in Mumbai. She led us in a number of brainstorming sessions that helped us redefine our business plan and build a stronger marketing strategy. This combined with our conversations with tour guides, hoteliers and others engaged in the tourist industry in Kalaw have led us to the decision not to wait for a viable space in town but to launch the Sprouting Seeds Cafe and bakery in the existing training center which is a short walk from the downtown area.
UpcomingIn the next few months we will be working with two new monasteries Tilokarama and the Naung Taung Monastic School to help support them in their livelihoods efforts to launch a café and bakery within their Monastic Schools.