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Jun 13, 2019

Training centre update: The roof is on!

Health and Hope Training Centre, Lailenpi
Health and Hope Training Centre, Lailenpi

"On 30th May 2017, Cyclone Mora made landfall in Bangladesh before moving northwards through western Myanmar. Torrential rain and high winds destroyed homes and triggered landslides in rural villages with 37 families made homeless in the village of Lailenpi where Health and Hope Myanmar’s work is based.

In addition, we were devastated to lose the majority of the training centre facilities; seven buildings were destroyed including the main training hall, kitchen and dining area and four dormitory buildings."  Excerpt from the Health and Hope Newsletter June 2017.

Two years on, it's incredible to look back and see how much progress has been made on the building of the training centre post Cyclone Mora.

We are so grateful for each individual who has given so generously to help rebuild the training centre in Lailenpi. Work on the training centre has made great progress and the roof is finally on! With the monsoon season fast approaching, the team have been working hard to finish the building and ensure it is water tight before the heavy rains arrive. Over recent months, the roof trusses and structure have been completed, the walls white-washed inside and the windows and door frames installed.

More photos of the project can be seen in our Flickr album here

Once complete, the building will not only provide facilities for ongoing training of Community Health Workers, Traditional Birth Attendants and farmers, but will also be a base for the new Education for All project which will launch in earnest in mid-June 2019. The training centre will provide classroom facilities, study areas and accommodation for up to 100 students taking part in this project.

There are a few weeks of work to fully complete the project, some of which may not be possible until after the monsoon season.  We've also extended the roof to allow for the construction of staff accommodation on the top floor at minimal cost and we're now looking to raise the final $15,000 to complete the facility.

The building stands as a testimony of the hard work of local community members, combined with the generous support of individuals like yourself, who have stood alongside us in a time of need.

Thank you again for your support for this project!

The roof in construction
The roof in construction
Completed roof
Completed roof
Training room / classroom
Training room / classroom
Jun 13, 2019

Fulfilling a little girl's dream...

Khai Rili
Khai Rili

Khai Rili was born in Lailenpi Town, Chin State, Myanmar. She is the second eldest of five siblings. Her father is a church leader and her mother works in the post office. As a little girl, Khai Rili dreamed of becoming an arhitect, although she didn't know that was it was called at the time. Thanks to your support for the Freedom to Education project, Khai Rili is on her way to fulfilling her dream - this is her story... 

"I went to primary and middle school in Lailenpi. In Myanmar, Grade 9 and 10 are very important as they are considered the gateway to college or university. Due to this, my parent’s worked very hard to support me to undertake my studies at the age of 15, in Hakha, the capital of Chin State. This was because, in terms of school facilities and teachers, the education system in Hakha is of far higher quality than in Lailenpi. I was able to work hard and, because of my parents' support, I passed grade 10 with good marks.

After passing my matriculation exam I was very enthusiastic to continue my study in India, so that I could improve my English. As I am from Lailenpi town, where Health and Hope Myanmar's office is based, I am very familiar with their work,  and seeing the returning students speak very good English, receiving university education, gaining in their confidence and skills whilst remaining humble and with so much love for others, inspired me and made me determined that one day I will also be like them.

However, education costs are so high that we could not afford it. Even though my parent’s are both employed, their salary is very low and with it they have to provide for all the basic needs of the family, as well as to support the education of my other brothers and sisters. Thanks to the support of the Freedom to Education Project (FEP), I was able to study in India and I have now completed Class 12 successfully. This is possible only because of the love, support and prayer from my family, FEP students, the Health and Hope team and many more who have given me the opportunity and inspired me to work hard. Now, my dream is to continue my study in Bachelor of Architecture. 

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always been interested in drawing and designing houses and gardens. I used to try building small house with sticks, but in these days I did not know that engineers or architects existed, it was just a way I enjoyed playing and having fun in my free time. When I was a little older, I saw my grandfather building roads and houses in and around Lailenpi Town. I used to help by serving tea to the workers and carrying lunch to my grandfather during the day. I really enjoyed spending time on the construction site; helping the workers and watching them build the roads and buildings. At that time, when asked what I would like to become, I used to say ‘Engineer!’, but my friends and relatives always told me that engineering is a manly profession and not for girls so I should consider going into a different career, but it never stopped me from knowing what I wanted to become.

As I got older I heard about doctors, nurses, teachers, business men and engineers but I did not know that these professions have so much branches and sub-specialities. I came to know about Architecture only after studying here in India.  I started researching this profession and finding out about the work that they do. Now I know this is exactly what I would love to do and was similar to what I used to play at when I was a little girl! 

No-one from Lailenpi is trained in engineering or Architecture. We build roads and houses without any planning and as a result we sometimes destroy the landscape and natural beauty of our land. My future plan is to help plan the development of villages, towns and cities from the initial stage and onto transforming them into beautiful liveable areas, enhancing the landscape and natural beauty of our land. I want to ensure roads and houses are built which will not be easily destroyed by landslide and earthquakes and to preserve and protect our rivers, streams and forests etc.  My elder brother and four of the other FEP students are also studying civil engineering in India and in China. Together I believe that we will be able to make a huge contribution to the development of our land, state and country."

Thank you for your continued support. It is making such a difference to the lives of young people like Khai Rili!

Feb 5, 2019

A wonderful surprise...

Practising a breech delivery
Practising a breech delivery

It was a delight to accompany one of our specialist midwifes from the UK, Frances Barnsely, on her seventh visit to Myanmar (Burma) in December 2018.

We have been running Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) training since 2013 from our base in Lailenpi, nestled in the jungles of western Chin State. As a result, many lives have been saved, with the local under-5 orphanage closing down in March 2018 thanks to the reduction in maternal deaths during childbirth.

With 166 women having received at least two trainings covering basic and advanced topics over the five prior years, there were now geographic challenges in reaching the more remote villages. To put this in context, some of the women had previously walked 5-6 days to participate in the week long training course, and on top of the return journey, it was proving too difficult to ask them to spend up to three weeks away from their families.

As such, at the beginning of 2018, we brought seven of the most experienced women together to take on new roles as local trainers. Each of the trainers were to visit 2-3 remote villages close to their homes to help expand the reach of the service. Key to the success of this new approach was how effective the local women would be at running their own training courses, in addition to whether they would be accepted in their local communities.

With support from the local women's association, the trainers were able to deliver training to 91 new TBAs covering ten core topics. In addition, birthing bags and clean delivery kits were distributed through the network of trainers.

During our visit, Frances undertook a review of the trainers work through visiting villages on the back of a motorbike. After a gruelling ride over rough mountain tracks, she arranged a three day assessment for the women who had received the local training.  In addition, Frances continued to up-skill and update the knowledge and professional practice of the trainers who attend a five day workshop at the Health and Hope clinic.

"I was so surprised how much the local women knew. I had never expected the trainers to be able to deliver so much of the course and so well. There were obviously differences between the villages, however overall, topics such as hand washing and knowledge of diet were excellent. There was still a need to support the women in greater understanding of the mechanisms of birth and they continue to need more practice in emergency drills, but this will come with time.

I think what struck me most was the impact of the training on the women's self-esteem. It was clear how the initiative had raised their status within the village which had a knock on effect on their confidence. Previously they were very insecure, lacking the self-belief that they had the ability to benefit from the training in Lailenpi. However, because they had the opportunity to practice with a local trainer and then meet us in person, they overwhelmingly expressed a deep desire to attend the full training course. The support of their local community is vital for this, and this was confirmed again and again by the village elders.

Overall, there was such excitement and joy in learning together, it was absolutely thrilling to be a part of it!"

We are so grateful for your ongoing support which has made all this work possible. Our next training takes place at the end of February 2019 and we look forward to updating you on the results of this work soon.

Thank you again for partnering with us.

Chris Jones

PS We’ve featured the above maternal and neonatal training in a new video that’s just been released on our website, if you have time, please do take a look: https://healthandhope.org/our-work/video

Empowering local birth attendants
Empowering local birth attendants
Infant resuscitation and bespoke resources
Infant resuscitation and bespoke resources
Practising mouth-to-mouth
Practising mouth-to-mouth
Assessing local teaching
Assessing local teaching
Out in the villages
Out in the villages

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