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Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre

by Whispering Seed
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre
Lesson in Natural Medicine
Lesson in Natural Medicine

Dear Family, Friends and Supporters of Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre

 

We are now in the middle of the rainy season and things are moving along with the café.  We now have two new interns living and working with us from the Dry Zone.

 

Char  and Hanni are both very interested in all we have to offer here at Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre and will be staying with us for several months to help with the project and learn all they can. They aim to move back to their native town and open a small yoga studio with café and restaurant. We are thrilled to have them helping us and are excited we can support their dreams!

 

Char’s mother is a natural medicine practitioner and we are starting to explore options for her to make regular visits to the learning centre to offer holistic treatment for patients and workshops on natural medicine. She taught us how to make a great medicine with jaggery and aloe vera.

 

We also had a young high school student from South Korea come and volunteer with us. We were excited to have him here at the project and he shared about Korean culture through cooking and a variety of games. It was a great exchange!

 

We have continued to work on the café space and recently built an earthen counter in the café. We experimented with several different lime plaster techniques and even experimented with a new kind of natural earth render called tadelekt which will make the finish completely smooth and water proof.

 

It is the middle of the rainy season and this means thing are a bit slow. We continue to work on new products, slowly planting the outside space with more trees, veggies and herbs and also our continued work with trainings. We also continue to work on all of our products with special focus on our seasonal ice creams!!! Dragonfruit, strawberry, mango and more!!!

 

We thank you for all of your support!

 

 

Jim 

Natural medicine preparations
Natural medicine preparations
Our intern Char
Our intern Char
Some of our bakery products
Some of our bakery products
The earthen counter under construction w/ rice bag
The earthen counter under construction w/ rice bag
Finished counter with lime plaster finish!!
Finished counter with lime plaster finish!!
Setting up for cafe
Setting up for cafe

7th Report for Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre Myanmar

March 19th, 2016

 

Dear Family, Friends and Supporters of Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre

 

As we approach Thingyan, the water festival and, Myanmar’s New Year’s holiday, we look forward to a very new beginning. For the first time in over sixty years the country has a democratically elected leadership and change appears to be coming fast. While there is much to be hopeful about, rapid development and the opening of borders also brings new challenges. It is therefore important that all of us working here in Myanmar continue to respect the long history and rich culture of this beautiful country and it’s people.

 

Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre Development

 

Café Opening

February saw Sprouting Seeds Café and bakery open it’s doors for the first time. After a month of intensive woodworking preparing tables, building counters for the baking area and deck chairs for the garden we were ready to welcome our first customers. We aimed for a soft opening with limited space and marketing to give us time to test our product and our processes. We are happy to report things went very well with great feedback on the quality of the food, the service and the concept for the training center. One of our customers even designed a map of town for us to be shared with local businesses and hotels.   We also ran some small cooking lessons for a limited number of customers, which were received very positively. Given the limited number of activities in Kalaw

 

Partner in USA

We view Sprouting Seeds as a community first and foremost and are always delighted when groups or individuals share the journey with us. It is with great pleasure therefore that we announce the opening of a café at the ???????Middle School where are group of “Sprouting Seeds Juniors” have launched their own café with the aims of supporting our work here in Myanmar. The leadership of their teacher who we met on a trip here has been instrumental in their achievements and we are so proud they are part of our network and hope to invite all the children to visit us one day.

 

Earthen Counter

Sustainability is key to all that we do here at Sprouting Seeds and wherever possible we want to showcase ways for others to work more sustainably or use more sustainable materials.  As such the training center is a great platform to inspire others to use more natural materials. Therefore we were delighted when an Earthen Builder from Spain came to join us in March and helped build a cob counter for the café. This has already sparked so many conversations with people about the versatility of the material and its aesthetic appeal. Several local community members have already talked about building something for themselves with cob with two joining us for two days to learn how to work with this incredible material.

 

Strawberry Ice Cream Season

With the start of spring came avocado and strawberry season. We have thoroughly enjoyed working with new recipes making a variety of strawberry treats from ice cream, butter cakes, smoothies, fruit bars and jams. With the weather heating up we now look forward to mango season…our favorite time of the year!

Hand made tables and chairs at the centre
Hand made tables and chairs at the centre
Site planning for bamboo huts and outside seating
Site planning for bamboo huts and outside seating

6th Report for Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre Myanmar

December 19th, 2015

Dear Family, Friends and Supporters of Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre as we enter the New Year, fresh off the back of a victory for democracy in Myanmar, we are hopeful for a new era of openness and positive social change. We very much look forward to playing our part in these developments and have a number of exciting trainings planned for 2016. We wish you all a very happy New Year filled with love and success.

Karen State Youth Group Visits
As you may know, we have been working with several different youth groups from around Myanmar through our trainings and internships in the Learning Centre here in Kalaw. Back in November forty five students from a Youth Group in Karen State joined us to learn about the work we are doing here at Sprouting Seeds.

Aye Aung and one of our international volunteers talked them through our work at the Learning Center; Café, Bakery, Eco Shop and Training Centre and gave them an introduction to the concept of social enterprise. Several of the youth were very interested in coming back for further study and internship possibilities.  

We will be joined by another group in our network in January to learn about social enterprise and the work we do.

Site Preparations Continue
As we still have limited staff here to work on the café and because we are aiming to produce all the products as well as design and build the entire physical space by ourselves site preparations are ongoing. We continue to build our own skills in design and woodworking as the process continues.

With more interns and help coming in January, we aim to open at the end of January.

News article about Whispering Seeds and Sprouting Seeds Project
In November as part of our annual work with Brighten running youth empowerment trainings and futbol (soccer) trainings around Myanmar we had the opportunity to work with a new volunteer from Brighten. Matt joined us to help out with the programs and wrote an article about the work we are doing here in Myanmar.

Here is the link for the full article.

http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/12/22/unlikely-foster-father-bringing-change-myanmar

 

Internship with Socially Engaged Monastic Schools scheduled for January
Starting in early January, staff and trainers from SEMS and one of their alumni schools will come to Kalaw for several weeks for a work study program.

SEMS works with Buddhist monastic schools around the country providing 10 week teacher trainings, exposure visits to countries here in Asia and Peace Leadership Trainings. As part of the 10 week teacher training programs, SEMS holds a section on Practical Life Skills. Through the Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre we will be assisting the key trainers and facilitators of SEMS to gain further skills to share during their 10 week trainings. We will share about; cooking, baking, ice cream making, social enterprise, handicrafts, knitting and more!

New arrival from London
From late January we will be joined by our latest employee Tej. She will be working with us in Kalaw on the Learning Center and delivering trainings on social enterprise. Tej first came to Kalaw in July where she spent some time with us on business planning. She has spent the last five years coaching social entrepreneurs in India and has a strong finance background as a hedge fund manager in London and Vice President of Equity research earlier in her career. She studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University.

We are excited to share more news with you in our next report! 

Finishing touch new tables in our woodworking area
Finishing touch new tables in our woodworking area
One of our new products; Cinnamon Rolls
One of our new products; Cinnamon Rolls
Rosemary & Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread
Rosemary & Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread
Birthday cakes & Cashew Brownies
Birthday cakes & Cashew Brownies
Belgian Waffle press for cookies & breakfast treat
Belgian Waffle press for cookies & breakfast treat

Links:

Handmade tables and chairs by the girls
Handmade tables and chairs by the girls

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 Kalaw
In 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.

Upcoming
In 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.

Experiential learning through shared meals
Experiential learning through shared meals
DevelopEd group building skills and confidence
DevelopEd group building skills and confidence
European food preparation
European food preparation
Opening Soon!
Opening Soon!
Strawberry muffins & Banana Choco Cookies in oven
Strawberry muffins & Banana Choco Cookies in oven

Greetings Family, Friends and Supporters,

It has been another productive few months here in Kalaw working on the further development of Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre. We have been able to continue working on product development, setting up our space, and connecting with local groups here in Myanmar for partnerships.

As we have mentioned previously, working in Myanmar is extremely challenging. For the last few months, we have been working with one of our partner organizations based in Mandalay to help support the development of the project here. We are pleased to share that we now have together, with support of our eldest girl, Aye Aung and our partners in Mandalay, have registered The Giving World, which our be our key partner helping to support Sprouting Seeds. With this new registration here in Myanmar, we will be able to reach more youth and provide further opportunities for development work.

Partnerships
Besides our new link with The Giving World, we continue to reach out to other groups to form partnerships. As some of you may remember we had a wonderful exchange with Kachin students from Shalat Education and Resource Centre back in March. Two of the girls who participated in the exchange, Grace and Bawk Mai will be moving here to live and work with us in the coming month. They will stay for several months to learn all they can in order to return to Myitkyina, in Kachin State to open a small café as part of their school to help with skills capacity building and income generation. During their time with us, they will also be sharing more wood working and help getting that project better established, while helping to make all the tables, shelves, chairs that we need for the running of the café and bakery project.

Last month we also had a visit from the staff from a small Buddhist Youth Network based in Nyaung Shwe in Inle Lake. The girls will have been planning to open a small café and coffee shop as part of their youth empowerment work and trainings. We had a wonderful first visit and the girls from their project will be working with us to create a training program to help in the development of their project. We are excited to connect with this group and their large network of youth all over the country and to be able to support them with a variety of trainings over the next several months.

New Product Development
Back in April, we several kind donations, we were able to make our first large purchase of appliances for the Centre here in Kalaw. We were able to purchase a new new bread oven, incredible ice cream maker and a freezer!! This really kicked things into a different gear!

Since that time, we have been experimenting with all new kinds of recipes and products, labels and other product development as well as which markets we will target. The search continues for a small shop front in downtown Kalaw in which we can offer our new line of ice cream and gelato as well as some of our first crafts and baked goods. 

Meanwhile, we have signed a 1 year lease on the big house we are staying in and have been prepareing the downstairs and outside to open the first part of the café here within the next few months. Deep cleaning, painting, building tables and chairs, designing products, planning for the introduction of basic cooking classes to foreigners and more have been keeping us extremely busy!

Gelato, Ice Cream & Baked Goodies!
Ice Cream and Gelato have become a new item here at Sprouting Seeds. After roughly two months of trials, we now have several ice cream and gelato flavors which we are selling out to shops around Kalaw, selling in bulk orders for parties and getting ready for the ice cream and gelato bar to open at the café space. Some of our new flavors include:

  • Mango-Lime Gelato
  • Mango Chocolate Chip Gelato
  • Fresh Vegan Coconut Milk Ice Cream
  • Fresh Coconut Choco-Chip Ice Cream
  • Thai Milk Tea Ice Cream

Some more flavors on the way include: Masala Tea Ice Cream, Strawberry and Passion Fruit Gelato, Jackfruit Ice Cream, Coffe Mocha Ice Cream and many more!!!

We also have been working on several baked goodies to be packed and prepared for easy sales, which include:

  • Banana Choco-Chip Cookies
  • Oatmeal Raising Cookies
  • Strawberry Banana Muffins
  • White Chocolate Mango Walnut Oat Cookies
  • Pineapple Coconut Muffins
  • Pineapple Tea Cake
  • Mango Tea Cake
  • Apple Tea Cake
  • Fresh Coconut Macaroons
  • Sprouted Wheat Berry Breads
  • Fresh made Bagels and Doughnuts
  • Variety of handmade granolas and granola bars (including fresh dried fruit from the project)
  • Variety of Pizzas

We have been working hard over the last few months to develop relationships with local suppliers to ensure quality and to support other local merchants. We are very pleased that the majority of our ingredients are all locally sourced and as fresh and natural as possible, including whole grain wheat flours for all our baked goods milled here locally in Kalaw and fresh dairy products from local farmers in the mountains around Kalaw!

With many things in the works at the moment, we are very excited to see how the next few months unfold. We will busy getting things ready for the internships, further development of products and finishing the work on the house we are renting. We are looking forward to sharing all the new developments in the next few months.

 With sweet bakery smells from Kalaw!

The Sprouting Seeds Team

Mango-lime gelato going into new ice cream maker
Mango-lime gelato going into new ice cream maker
Finished mango-lime & mango choice chip gelato
Finished mango-lime & mango choice chip gelato
Homemade bagels for cafe sandwiches
Homemade bagels for cafe sandwiches
Homemade Walnut Cinnamon Rolls
Homemade Walnut Cinnamon Rolls
 

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Organization Information

Whispering Seed

Location: Penn Valley, PA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
James Connor
Penn Valley, PA United States
$20,710 raised of $45,000 goal
 
419 donations
$24,290 to go
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