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Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora

by Health and Hope UK
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Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Health and hope in Burma after Cyclone Mora
Training Centre, March 2020
Training Centre, March 2020

Over the last 2.5 years, the community in Lailenpi has been working hard to re-build the buildings that were destroyed by Cyclone Mora in 2017. The training centre is critical to the outworking of Health & Hope's vision of providing facilities for: 

- Training for Community Health Workers (CHWs) who give vital healthcare to people in remote communities;

 - Maternal Health training of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs), local trainers and government midwives;

- Support for up to 100 students studying full-time in our Education for All project;

- Office space and a logistical base for emergency relief in times of civil unrest and national disasters.

Even over the last few months, the building has been vital for enabling our training programmes, workshops and education projects to continue. As we near the end of the building project, we want to thank every person who has given generously to support our work in this way. With the final funding  having been recently provided by a corporate foundation, we are now entering the last phase of the project: installation of electricity, plumbing and the finishing touches to the offices and classrooms.

In February we were fortunate enough to be supported by SolarLEAP who funded and installed a solar powered computer suite and offline electronic library at the Training Centre. The library will provide an incredible resource for the local community and students.

Of course, the current global crisis is causing much concern for our team and the vulnerable communities in the region. Our website has been updated with the latest news on our response to the COVID-19 crisis: Prevent, Detect, Respond. This currently involves a number of preventative outreach visits being conducted in remote communities. The health team are working alongside Community Health Workers (CHWs) to educate communities on the virus and prevention of transmission, providing PPE and other tools such as thermometers for CHWs, as well as supporting individuals who show symptoms through self-isolation. 

We have received some expert design input on how part of the Training Centre could be converted into a self-contained COVID-19 support unit, should the need arise to respond to patients affected by the virus in the region. It is incredible to have a facility like this available so that we can be ready to respond to critical needs, as and when they develop. Support for this proposal, as well as enabling patient transfers to tertiary care hospitals (over 2 days journey) are dependent on us sourcing additional funding under the ‘Respond’ phase of our strategy.

As we work with the team in Myanmar to develop our plans in response to the current situation, we will endeavour to update you further on this, but in the meantime, if you have any questions about this or any of our other projects, please do get in touch with me via email: philippa.wilford@healthandhope.org.

Thank you again for your continued support and partnership with us in this programme - we look forward to updating you with the final photos of the finished building soon! 

Training of TBAs in the Training Centre
Training of TBAs in the Training Centre
Electronic library installed by SolarLEAP
Electronic library installed by SolarLEAP
Design for COVID-19 support unit
Design for COVID-19 support unit

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Final coats of paint on the new Training Centre
Final coats of paint on the new Training Centre

Building a two story 100'x60' Training Centre in one of the most geographicly remote places of Myanmar comes with it's fair share of challenges.

I was reminded of that during my latest visit, with it taking us four days just to travel to and from the project site in the remote mountains of Chin State. When you're also having to transport building materials, it can be a bit frustrating if you forget that essential item of equipment and it's a 12 hour journey (or longer) just to get to the nearest DIY store.

We started constructing the Training Centre in January 2018. When we set out, we determined that everything would be done through the hands of the local townspeople. Where they had experience, we would build upon it.  Where they didn't have the skills we would provide training. 

I kept reminding myself of that as I looked around the project, a year after I'd visited previously. Unlike another building in the area that used contractors from the city, the Training Centre stands as a testimony to what can be achieved through the efforts of local craftsmen, some of whom have learnt a trade through the building process, and are equipped to use that in the future.

Despite being incomplete, the Training Centre has already seen a year's worth of use. The first rooms hosted training for local villagers before the building even had a roof, as we launched a new phase of health training for Community Health Workers in December 2018. In June 2019, just as the roof was being fitted and the monsoon rains begain, 96 students moved into the building as part of the new Education for All project where they will be studying until March. In December we've run further training on maternal and neonatal care for Area Health Coordinators and will be running additional workshops in March.

Whilst we raise funding for a separate dormitory, the first floor of the training hall has been turned into an accommodation block for the students and the second floor is in the final stages of being converted into office space and accommodation for local staff.

What I like about the building is that it isn't perfect. The ceiling tiles don't quite line up with the walls. The concrete render isn't quite as smooth as you would want it to be.There were even a few patches of mould that needed cleaning off where the monsoon rains had wet the concrete prior to the external render being finished. The reason I like this, is because every imperfection in the building, which will last for generations, spoke volumes about the hands that had created it and the lessons that had been learnt in the process.

Lessons about how to make concrete, how to tie reinforcement bars, what grade of steel to use, how to cut roofing bars, how to plumb in drainage, how to put up a hanging ceiling, how to make a staircase. Alongside the practical lessons were thousands of hours spent in relationship with local villagers working hand-in-hand on a project that they initially said was impossible to build!  

We raised the roof last year to squeeze in an additional floor at the top of the Training Centre so that we could both make the best use of the space and start the education project as soon as possible. As a result, we're a little over budget (7.5%).  We have a building engineer finishing his calculations, but we're estimating it will take another $25,000 to complete the electrics, internal render of the main training hall, provide furniture for the offices and put down proper flooring.  If this is a project that you are able to support, or can recommend to someone you know, please do let us know (email Chris at: info@healthandhope.org).  

If we can, we'd like to complete the work before May so that local staff can move out of an 8-year old timber building unlikely to make it through another monsoon.

Thank you so much for your support. 
Chris

PS Do check out our latest news page for a short video of the Education for All project. It's a fantastic example of how the Training Centre is being put to use.

Education project hosted in the Training Centre
Education project hosted in the Training Centre
Classrooms in the Training Centre
Classrooms in the Training Centre
Ongoing work on the second floor
Ongoing work on the second floor
Community Health Worker Training
Community Health Worker Training
Students hosted at the Training Centre
Students hosted at the Training Centre
The Training Centre - a community effort
The Training Centre - a community effort
The Training Centre - where it all started
The Training Centre - where it all started

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Launch of Education for All in the Training Centre
Launch of Education for All in the Training Centre

We're delighted that the Training Centre is now in daily use despite there still being a few jobs left both inside and outside to complete the building. 

While the monsoon rains are in full swing, the project teams have been busy launching the new Education for All project, designed to transform the pass rate amongst Year 10 students from 30 rural villages in western Myanmar (Burma). You can read more about Education for All at this link.

Meanwhile, the construction teams are making steady progress with finishing the staffing quarters under the new roof construction.  The redesign provided a further 4,200 square feet of accommodation, allowing for staff and visitors to stay on site. This has provided a safe place away from the strong winds which have threatened to topple the original office building over the last few months. 

Once the rains have stopped, the exterior walls will be rendered and painted to help protect the concrete, make the building fully watertight and give it that finished look.

We've just received confirmation of a generous offer to equip one of the rooms of the building as an IT suite, which will arrive into Lailenpi around the same time as the first mobile data connection is turned on in the village.  This will provide a rich learning environment for the hundreds of people that attend training at the centre every year.

We are still hoping to raise around $15,000 to complete the building, which will support our work across the fields of health, education and food security in western Myanmar.  If you are able to help us reach this target, or would like any further information about the project, please contact our Executive Director on: chris.jones@healthandhope.org

Thank you so much for your support!

Education for All up and running!
Education for All up and running!
Waiting for the monsoon to end!
Waiting for the monsoon to end!
Additional rooms under the new roof design
Additional rooms under the new roof design
Staff quarters
Staff quarters
What the cyclone did two years ago
What the cyclone did two years ago
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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
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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...

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Organization Information

Health and Hope UK

Location: Chorleywood - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Chris Jones
Chorleywood, United Kingdom
$13,994 raised of $29,000 goal
 
44 donations
$15,006 to go
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