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Feb 5, 2019

The first few months...

First teaching sessions
First teaching sessions

It's always exciting, but a bit daunting starting a new project.  This one in particular.  The challenge is huge...  In 2017, only 2% of students passed their Grade 10 exams.  Just eight out of 502 students.  Without gaining a matriculation certificate at Grade 10, students and their families are locked into a cycle of poverty.

Our focus over the first few months of this new education project has been twofold. Firstly to integrate our staff into the existing education system and secondly to undertake an external review of the challenges.

It's been a delight to see staff welcomed into both the government and church school in Lailenpi where our work is based.  Lailenpi is nestled in the mountains overlooking the western border of Myanmar (Burma).  It is extremely remote, with the nearest town at least 10 hours drive over treacherous mountain roads. 

Despite the newly built school building, there are no resources to support learning or books available in the classrooms, other than those passed down from prior students.  Traditional teaching methods are by rote, promoting memorisation rather than enquiry and understanding.  The class sizes are large with up to 50 students and many subjects (including the sciences and maths) are taught in English, despite most teachers having no confidence in the use of the English language.

Our staff are native to Lailenpi, however have at least five years experience studying outside of the country and are fluent in English.  They are currently providing classes in English, Maths, Physics and Biology, working to promote understanding amongst the high school students and those studying to retake their grade 10 exams.
 
We've also been delighted to host Janette, a retired educational consultant from the UK who is currently undertaking a review of teaching methodology and the challenges facing students and parents.  In addition, Janette has been hosting English classes and running teacher training workshops.

As the pilot continues, we’ll be following a process of listening, acting and learning as we try to identify the most appropriate interventions to take the project to scale.

We look forward to updating you on our progress in our next report!

Chris Jones 

PS We've just released our latest video update on our work. If you would like to find out more about Health and Hope, you will find the video at the following link: https://healthandhope.org/our-work/video
Teaching at the church school
Teaching at the church school
The newly built government school
The newly built government school
Educational support from a UK based professional
Educational support from a UK based professional
Teacher training workshop
Teacher training workshop
One on one support
One on one support
Getting the foundations in place
Getting the foundations in place
Teaching training workshop
Teaching training workshop

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Feb 4, 2019

What happens next?

FEP Graduates now working with Health & Hope
FEP Graduates now working with Health & Hope

'What happens next?' is the question on the minds of many of our students who will be graduating in six months time from their degree courses, all made possible because of your support.

Health and Hope students come from mostly illiterate farming families in Chin State, western Myanmar (Burma).  The opportunities that they have had over the last six years to study are, to some, a dream come true.  Only 2-8% of children in the rural areas of Chin State pass their Grade 10 exams.  Less than 1% go on to study at university. For students to be completing degrees as doctors, nurses, engineers and business graduates, there is a definite sense that they are treading an unknown pathway, unsure of what life looks like next.

I was recently in Lailenpi, undertaking monitoring of our work and launching two new projects in health and education.  What struck me powerfully, was that without your support for these students, starting these new projects would simply not have been possible.

The photo above is an example of this. Six of the Health and Hope staff members in the picture graduated from the Freedom to Education Project over the last three years.  Two doctors, one teacher, one accountant in training, and two science graduates - who are both now key leaders in our sustainable agricultural project.

In rural Chin State, there is now a trickle of young educated local leaders returning to serve their communities, determined to make a difference.  It is an incredible achievement, much of it thanks to your support.

This year, three nurses (pictured below) will join the team in Lailenpi after having completed their internship year in Yangon.  They will return to help develop the health programme in the rural villages and contribute to the running of Hope Clinic.  It's an incredible achievement for them, their families and the local community.

We've just released a new video update on our website showing our work in context. We hope that you will enjoy the video seeing some of the faces of the students whom you have supported in action in their new roles. The link to the video is: https://healthandhope.org/our-work/video

Thank you so much for your continuing partnership in the work.

Chris Jones
Nurses in training
Nurses in training
Nurses on internship in Yangon
Nurses on internship in Yangon
Hope Clinic
Hope Clinic
Dr Beichotha serving at Hope Clinic
Dr Beichotha serving at Hope Clinic

Links:

Feb 4, 2019

We're getting close, just the roof to go!

Almost there...
Almost there...

I've recently returned from visiting Lailenpi in western Myanmar (Burma) as part of our monitoring process, as well as launching a couple of new projects in health and education.  The training centre plays a pivotal role in these projects and it's incredible to look back to just one year ago and see how much progress has been made.

When the project started, the local tradesmen initially refused to dig foundations at 20' spans, asking us to hire 'professional builders' from outside the village.  They had never dreamed of being able to construct a building of this scale, nor did they feel they had the skills to do it.  But through the provision of field engineers and through careful supervision and encouragement, the training centre is now really starting to take shape.  Best of all, the local townspeople can look back at what they have accomplished with their own hands, standing tall and proud of their accomplishments. 

In fact, we were delighted to recently host our first week long training in the building, despite the fact that it has no roof, or even a coat of paint on the walls yet!  In December, twenty-eight Area Coordinators, who provide in-situ support for our network of Community Health Workers, gathered for the launch of our new healthcare project and took up residence in the training centre.  This has been followed by training for educators in January, and two further trainings of health workers and Traditional Birth Attendants in February.  

Whilst still incomplete, the training centre provides an incredible space for the ongoing work, whether training in health, education or agriculture.

As you can see from the photographs, we are nearly there with 85% of the funds raised.  We also have funding to furnish the classrooms, however we are now looking for around US $50,000 to put the roof on the training centre, as well as complete the plumbing, electrics and glazing before the monsoon rains start in May. 

We've just uploaded a video onto our website showcasing the latest work.  This includes an update on the rebuilding project.  If you would like to see the context of our work and some of the local community in action, please do follow the link below: https://healthandhope.org/our-work/video

It's been an amazing journey so far.

Thank you for your ongoing partnership,

Chris Jones

Beneath the night sky
Beneath the night sky
Training centre in use
Training centre in use
Training Area Coordinators
Training Area Coordinators
Rendering the inside of the building
Rendering the inside of the building
Starting work on the roof terrace
Starting work on the roof terrace
A year ago...
A year ago...

Links:

 
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