Apply to Join

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
Our new mud brick oven with Kachin students
Our new mud brick oven with Kachin students

Greetings Family, Friends and Supporters,

Throughout most of Myanmar, the dry season is creeping in and beginning to heat things up! Here in Kalaw in the pine forests of Southern Shan State, we are still blessed with cool weather, especially the mornings and evenings. We are getting more settled in the town of Kalaw and plans are moving forward steadily with the Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre.

Last month was most busy with our first official exchange and training program at Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre. Things are really starting to move quickly!

 Our First Exchange and Training with Kachin students from Shalat Education and Resource Center (Myitkyina, Kachin State)

In March we had our first official Exchange and Training with our dear friends from Shalat. 10 students and one teacher traveled almost 30 hours from Upper Myanmar to Kalaw to live and learn with us for 2 ½ weeks. Living together, creating our schedule together each day, doing many group projects, and learning in a holistic, participatory way was a new experience for many of the students.

Baking and Cooking
One of the main focuses of the exchange was baking and cooking. The students from Shalat are also interested in opening a small café as part of their school, and came to Kalaw to learn from us how to start this process. The first project we did with the students was to teach them how to build a mud oven for baking. During this process the students gained more fine skills in mud building and cob finish that they can then put to use when they return to Kachin State; the students are currently building their own campus with mud brick and working to open their own bakery project in Myitkyina.            

It is strawberry season here in Kalaw, so we incorporated the sweet berries into as many baking and cooking projects as we could, and the results were delicious! We tried to cook a balance of Western food and traditional Burmese and Kachin recipes. We taught them French toast, gnocchi, pizza, muffins, cookies and cakes, a variety of red and white sauces, Indian curries and breads, salsa, Kombucha (a traditional Chinese medicine), and much more! They taught us a variety of delicious traditional soups, salads, noodles and side dishes. Every five days a big market comes to Kalaw where we can find many traditional greens, herbs and veggies, which are very inexpensive. The group showed us new items in the market and taught us how to use them to make wonderful traditional dishes.  

Woodwork
Two of the female students did an independent study in woodworking at Shalat and came ready to pass on their knowledge to us during their visit. We invested in woodworking tools, which the two girls taught us how to use. We started a few projects and finished a sturdy, two-person bench that we will use as a prototype for the benches and tables in the café. We hope to be able to make all of the café furniture ourselves by hand, and learn enough to teach woodworking to youth at the Training Centre.

Handy Crafts
A big part of the exchange was teaching a variety of different handy crafts. We worked on friendship bracelet making, scarves, socks and hat knitting, basket decoupage, handmade paper journals, dried flower wreaths, string lights decorated with real leaves, and crocheting. The students gained many skills through these hands on craft sessions, which they can now use for income generation for future projects and trips.

Interview with Grace (Shalat student visiting Sprouting Seed)
Grace is one of the students from the Shalat Education and Resource Center who joined the group for 2 ½ weeks Exchange and Training. We first met Grace through our other program Rural Teacher Training, when we organized a group of students and teachers from Buddhist and Christian backgrounds on an exposure trip to South Korea. It was a transformative trip as Grace explains, “I changed a lot because of that trip…the past year I had been really struggling and I felt like I could not do anything. I had no confidence and I would give up easily. While in Korea, I met with other students who gave me a lot of encouragement.”

Grace wants to open and run her own organic coffee shop made of earth. She has experience making mud bricks with all the other students at Shalat as they are currently constructing their own school. She joined one of our building workshops in Myitkyina where she and the other students helped to construct a kindergarten in which they learned the specifics of building, plastering, mortar, design and more. We will be going back up to Myitkyina in the near future to help in the design and building of their school and with the café when Grace is ready as an ongoing exchange.

While visiting us in Kalaw with the other students from Shalat, Grace told us she has learned a lot about baking; “At first I didn't know anything about baking, I was just interested. Now I can do it.” She wants to open the coffee shop in her hometown of Myitkyina, Kachin State even though it is unstable for business due to ethnic fighting in the region. “I don't know if it will be a success or not,” she told us, “but I want to try it. I am almost 21 years old, I have my own dream and I want to make my dream happen.”

When Grace opens her own coffee shop, she would like to donate some of her income to charity. She is becoming more interested in politics and in working with Internally Displaced People (IDP) in her home state. She has seen the dire situation they face, especially in education. She told us, “I really want to help children in IDP camps. Some of the kids do not want to go to school because they do not have school supplies.” Grace is now finishing her University degree through a distance-learning program, and then plans to do internships and perhaps study abroad in order to learn more about how she can help her community. Grace says she has found what she wants to do in the future, and she told us “I see my hopes and I can achieve anything I want.” We hope to support Grace through internship possibilities not only through Sprouting Seeds but also through the other partners we are working with. We look forward to the next steps and future exchanges with Grace and all of the Shalat students and teachers in support of both the development of their school and the café enterprise they are planning.

Sprouting Seeds Café (Kalaw, Southern Shan State)

Space
We are still looking for a space for Sprouting Seeds Café and Learning Center in downtown Kalaw. The process of finding a rental is proving more difficult than we originally thought it would be, but we have a few leads and are still enthusiastically searching the area. We are very eager to start the process of opening the Centre and we believe with more work and patience we will find our space here.

Recipes
We have been experimenting with cooking different dishes and baking with the mud oven, as well as working to finish a recipe book for menu ideas with a focus on healthy vegetarian meals. We are now exploring the area for local and organic sources of produce. Some ingredients are difficult to find in Kalaw, so we are exploring options of what we can grow and make ourselves.

Bangkok Trip
In the middle of March, Jim, his eldest daughter Aye Aung, and a volunteer/friend Grace flew to Bangkok for a busy three-day shopping and planning trip for Sprouting Seeds. We went to the famous Jatujuk weekend market where we bought many supplies for the café, including our favorite find of the trip: beautiful pottery cups, bowls, plates, and serving dishes which fit the esthetic design of the café we were aiming for. This trip and the purchasing of supplies has helped push the dream of Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre to become one step closer to the reality of supporting local youth in reaching their dreams.

Sharing our home cooked meals with Kachin students
Sharing our home cooked meals with Kachin students
Woodworking making tables and chair for cafe
Woodworking making tables and chair for cafe
Their first knitting projects for the cold weather
Their first knitting projects for the cold weather
Grace baking chocolate strawberry coconut muffins
Grace baking chocolate strawberry coconut muffins
Gracie and Aye Aung in Bangkok for cafe shopping
Gracie and Aye Aung in Bangkok for cafe shopping
Site of new Learning Centre in downtown Kalaw
Site of new Learning Centre in downtown Kalaw

Dear Friends, family and supporters,

We are pleased to share with you more news about the development of the Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre. After several months of preparation, Whispering Seed finally made yet another big move from Pyin Oo Lwin in Upper Myanmar to live and base in the small former British hillstation town of Kalaw.

Located in the pine forests and cool weather of Southern Shan State, Kalaw is a small town serving as the starting point for hikes into local ethnic hilltribe villages, famous caves in nearby Pindaya and several hike routes starting in Kalaw and ending in Inle Lake. It’s not only a wonderful location, but also quite an strategic one, for it is a place that has experimented a considerable increase in its tourist visits, which means that local people are starting to see entrepreneurship possibilities and others, which turn our project into an incredible opportunity. We’ve been working also in research regarding the needs and priorities so we can lunch our Learning Center as a response to the real needs of local people working together with our partner organizations. 

We arrived in Kalaw around the first of November and began to get settled in our new home, which will also serve as the base for Phase I of the Centre. The house is in a privileged location for our purposes, just at the edge of downtown Kalaw, a 5 minute walk from bus station and central market.

We have only been here about a month now, but we are slowly getting the home settled and we are making plans for Phase 1 to start soon. We have learned that working in Myanmar is challenging at many levels. However, with commitment and support, we are excited about the progress we have made and plans we are creating to move forward. The programs we plan to offer through the center will contribute to the current development of Myanmar.

Short course in Business Training & Designing the Space

Two of the youth who are starting the project are currently receiving a short Business Training course from our friend Natalia, our friend from Chile who has come to volunteer with us. Together they are developing the business plan for Phase I and Phase II of the project. She is working with a few of the youth here to better build their capacity for management of the centre. 

Cooking and Baking Training in Italy

While working with Brighten Foundation we had the pleasure of meeting Gabriella, our friend from Italy who has presented us an opportunity to broaden the classes and teachings we can impart in the center, with a cooking and baking training opportunity in Italy. This is also a great opportunity for our young members to grow and learn a much more diverse base of international skills training, which we will then spread through Sprouting Seeds.

Implementation for the center

As we are starting the first phase of the bakery, we are continuing to gather the basic information so we can launch the project soon. Our local partners have been an incredible support in this area, helping us getting us all the necessary information and supplies, including a bread oven which we are in the process of securing a donation from Mandalay.  

We look forward to your on-going support through our final campaign of this year and as we start into the new year of 2015. 

We are graterful for all of your support!!!

Our dear friends from Mandalay who support our wrk
Our dear friends from Mandalay who support our wrk
Moving some of the plants to the new centre
Moving some of the plants to the new centre
Mud brick oven making at Chin monastic school
Mud brick oven making at Chin monastic school
Monastic school in Bago who we work with
Monastic school in Bago who we work with
Training in Upper Myanmar-Kachin-knitting hats!!
Training in Upper Myanmar-Kachin-knitting hats!!

Links:

Novice monk knitting his first hat
Novice monk knitting his first hat

Dear Friends and Supporters of Whispering Seed’s Sprouting Seeds Learning Center,

We would like to thank you all for you kind contributions to help us start the Sprouting Seeds Learning Center. Your support is greatly appreciated!!!

Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre campaign was started in June and during the first 3 months we are excited to share that we have raised $910 out of the targeted goal of $10,000. We still have a long way to go but we appreciate all your support so far!

Our initial plans to move to Kalaw, a small former British Hill Station in Southern Shan State were temporarily slowed down due to challenges with the new rental.

However, during the last two months, we have continued the planning stages of the Sprouting Seeds Learning Centre and have continued to look for a suitable space in the town of Kalaw. During that time, we also continued some of our training in cooking, baking, and handicrafts through some of our partner organizations, Socially Engaged Monastic Schools (SEMS) and Center for Promotion of Monastic Schools (CPME).

We are pleased to say that we have found a space in Kalaw and are now making preparations to move there in October. Our trainings will continue in October, November and December and we will work during the last part of the year to set up the initial space for Sprouting Seeds if all goes well.

From the trainings we already have conducted, we have received wonderful feedback. Participants are already picking up many new skills and are able to begin, in particular, knitting and crochet projects will they will be able to not only teach their students but also be able to start to make products for sale within their local communities. 

We are very exciting during these early stages of the project and looking forward to share more with you as make our way to Kalaw and begin preparations for the Centre!!!

A huge thank you to all of those that have supported us this far and look forward to your continued support over the next few months.

A busy kitchen learning new recipies
A busy kitchen learning new recipies
Some of the new foods!!
Some of the new foods!!
Monks getting yarn ready for knitting workshops
Monks getting yarn ready for knitting workshops
A variety of bread recipies
A variety of bread recipies
Hand made knit socks
Hand made knit socks

Links:

 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Whispering Seed

Location: Penn Valley, PA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
James Connor
Penn Valley, PA United States
$20,796 raised of $45,000 goal
 
423 donations
$24,204 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Whispering Seed has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:
Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.