Community Building in Nawng Nang Kachin State
As weather heats up here in Kalaw, we are moving closer to the Myanmar new years festival known as Thingyan. The last 3 months continue to keep us busy working with teachers and schools around the country.
Recently we have been focusing on natural building, specifically on teaching preservation and building with bamboo. We have held 3 different trainings in 3 different
Nawng Nang Community School (Kachin State)
Together with partners in Kachin State, we are supporting the development of 13 community schools. We are offering support through trainings in earthen and bamboo building, in order to build the capacity of locals in order that they can build their own schools.
Ja Noi is a 23 year old teacher living and working in the Nawng Nang community about 40 minutes outside the city of Myitkyina in Kachin State. She is a new teacher working with Grade 1 and has been active in the design and building of the school with her students. She and her students helped in the actual design of the building and helped in mixing the mud for the mud bricks and also building the walls and foundation. It has been a true community engagement process!
We have spent the last few months working on brick making and then building a beautiful stone foundation for the 2 new classrooms. During February and March we focused on building the walls of the classrooms and now in Mid-April we will bring in the Indonesian trainers to teach all of us how to work with bamboo and build the magnificent bamboo roof.
Naung Taung Monastic School as Eco School Model (Southern Shan State)
On January 9-8th we hosted the first of our series of Bamboo Workshops here in Myanmar. Together with local facilitators and one expert bamboo trainer, we taught a group of 40 participants from all over Myanmar how to preserve bamboo using a heated borax method. The participants came from monastic schools, church schools, community schools, NGO’s and community development projects. During the training we built the first treatment tanks and taught the process of treating the bamboo which will allow the bamboo used in buildings and schools which usually last only 3-5 years, a much longer and more sustainable lasting time of 30-40 years!
The training was a huge success and 2 groups of participants were then able to replicate the training and build tanks in Myikyina, Kachin State and Kyaubadaung, Dry Zone. The team at Naung Taung Monastic School, serving over 1,500 ethnic Pa-O children, currently continues to process and treat bamboo in order for our 2nd workshop there in November to build the first eco classroom there using earth and bamboo.
Shwenadi Monastic School (Kyaubadaung, Dry Zone)
This monastic school situation in the Dry Zone of Myanmar, serves almost 500 ethnic Chin children who come from along the Indian border. Part of the reason for choosing the monastery to work with is because of the Head monk, U Yuzana, has been very active in community development and environmental projects. We had already worked with their teachers previously providing holistic education training and now we are working at ‘greening’ their campus to be a sustainable model within Myanmar.
Using Permaculture design principles for the entire campus of the school and building with earth and bamboo, we are now supporting the senior Buddhist abbot to have a training center which will be used for his school, the local community and the network of CBO’s (Community Based Organizations) which work with them throughout the country.
We are now in the process of making bricks and starting the foundation of Training Hall, Kitchen and Dining Hall, Trainer and Trainee accommodation. All of the buildings will be made of earthen adobe bricks and the roof structure will be bamboo.
In July, another team of Indonesian bamboo experts will arrive for a second Bamboo Construction Workshop here in Myanmar. Treatment tank workshop has already been held and bamboo is just starting to be treated in preparation for the workshop in July.
National Network for Education Reform (NNER)
Together with one of our partners here in Myanmar, Socially Engaged Myanmar Society (SEMS), we support the newly formed NNER to attend an exposure tour in Thailand to look at education and community development projects. NNER is working on education reform in Myanmar and aiming to revise the national curriculum of the country.
We continue to work with NNER for training sessions here in Myanmar and also for a second possible exposure tour in India to explore holistic education and mother tongue language in schools.
As you can see, it has been yet another busy few months and we are excited to share the next projects with you in 3 months time.
Kachin students making bricks for their school
Bamboo Treatment Tank Training in Pa-O community
Shwenadi Sustainable Training Center in Monastery
Shwenadi monk "greening" his monastic school
View of Mt Poppa from Shwenadi Training Center