The proposed Community Development Center will be built in the village of Nyaung Ywa, in the Irrawaddy Division of Burma (Myanmar). It is about 45 minutes from Yangon. The land itself contains two acres that has been used to grow rice.
Nyaung Ywa is representative of many rural communities in the Irrawaddy Divisions. Subsistence agriculture on small plots of land provides most employment. Because so little profit is made, educational opportunities for children are severely limited. Farmers often cannot break the cycle of debt as they borrow for seeds and fertilizers, then find that they are completely “sold out” to the money lenders at harvest. For the small farmer, the only source of the credit is often a private money lender who charges exorbitant interest.
We are also concerned about the state of health care in remote regions. As part of this community development center, we would also like to have a health care clinic and a practical nursing program for young women.
The following is from a grant request seeking funds for this project:
Asian Children’s Mission operates a small high school in northern Burma. One of our recent graduates wrote this poignant note, “My name is Ninram. I have four other brothers and sisters. My mother died when I was very little. After that father got mental illness. The neighbors and relatives helped all five of us children. Our lives were not easy. Mother died because of lack of health workers and lack of knowledge of how to care the sick. So I want to become a nurse to help my people in the villages.”
Her letter again highlighted the need for better healthcare in the remote regions of the country. Reliable statistics concerning health care in Burma are virtually non-existant, but FAME has assisted in meeting medical needs within the country so you are aware of the need for both preventive and curative care in the remote regions. Basic health care provided through training in practical nursing would fill a need in many communities.
The curriculum would be drawn primarily from three sources – the CHE library which emphasizes preventive medicine, curative care lessons would be developed from a book entitled Where There is No Doctor and from visiting instructors (Myanmar and foreign). We hope to incorporate some herbal medicine as well.
Maeram, ACM’s Education Coordinator, notes the importance of vocational training for young women, “Many of the young girls, when they can't afford to go to University, go to
either the gold mines or to Thailand or Malaysia to work. Many lost their hopes this way.”
Burma is an agriculturally based economy. However, most of the small farms are low-yield, and depend upon one crop, such as rice. The one acre model farm will incorporate animal husbandry, aquaculture, fruit trees as well as grain crops, all utilizing appropriate technology for small-scale farming. There will be many hands-on opportunities to learn, and to demonstrate that a small holder farm can be productive and profitable.
In 2010, two members of the Asian Children’s Mission leadership team in Burma, a third colleague from Burma, and Joana (the director) spent a week at the Baptist Rural Life Center in Mindanao, Philippines (mozcom.com/~mbrlc/) to learn more about small scale sustainable agriculture in southeast Asia. We will ask the director of the Center to come to Burma to help us develop the farm. We will also partner with ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) in Chiang Mai, Thailand, as well as American businesses and individuals with interest and expertise in sustainable agriculture.
(The week in Mindanao was part of a seven week CHE internship. FAME provided most of the funding for Josiah Aung Oo and Bailhum Pung. Josiah heads up the orphanage outreach for ACM, and has established a children’s CHE program at Hope Children’s Home near Yangon. Bailhum (also known as Joel) joined ACM’s staff in 2010 to lead the CHE program. Joel has done most of the translation work of the CHE lessons.)
FAITH – Food Always In the Home – gardens demonstrate how a family of six can significantly increase their food security through a 100-square-meter garden which is designed to provide vegetables all through the year. The central feature is a series of raised garden beds into which trench and basket composts are set. These are filled with little manure and some decomposed garbage and packed with leaves of leguminous trees and shrubs. We will also promote urban gardening. FAITH gardening was first developed at the Baptist Rural Life Center in Mindanao.
Other vocational training
As time goes on, there may be more vocational training that we could add, such as tailoring and motor repair, fpr exa,[;e
With this project, we hope to establish an adult vocational training center. With only a two acre campus, everything must be used to teach some kind of lesson. With the buildings, we need to teach sustainability using locally available materials. Most are familiar with using bamboo, but bamboo buildings don't last very long. So -- one goal is to use building materials that are durable, available and affordable.
We will also need landscaping ideas around the buildings, along with the teaching plots.
We have a conceptual drawing, which will be included in the proposal, or to those who have expressed an interest in the project. I would like to see more detail, such as floor plans as well as exterior.
Additionally, I'd like to see sustainable energy ideas. Electriciity is not always available, and in some villages, there is no electricity at all. Other appropriate technology, especially for agriculture, should also be incorporated.
If possible, I would like to continue to work with the winning designer following the competiton. Being on site would be a plus, but I understand that may not be realistic.
As a matter of background, the Myanmar Community Development Center has come from two inspirations -- one is the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center in the Phillipines (www2.mozcom.com/~mbrlc) and the Community Health Evangelism (chenetwork.org) library of lessons. Asian Children's Mission is a US based non-profit corporation who works with a leadership team in Myanmar to promote education, care of orphans and community development. ACM is a Christian organization, but our work and services are humanitarian.
Use of sustainable, affordable and locally available material
The main building in the cemter of the campus should be round. It will be a multi-functional building, including an area for worship and classrooms
Assume electricity will be not available
Creativity in selecting building materials that are appropriate for Myanmar and affordable and easy to use.
Appropriate technolgy that is integtated into the design
1. Overall layout of the campus
2. Description in text format
3. Floorplans of as many buildings as possible, but especially of the worship/classroom building
4/ Would like to have both birds eye view and eye level views
- SITEPLAN, Scale 1/32"-1' (or 1/400)
- PLAN VIEW(s), Scale 1/16"-1' (or 1/200)
- SECTION View(s): Scale 1/16"-1' (or 1/200)
- PERSPECTIVE/AXONOMETRIC VIEWS: where necessary