We're delighted to share our latest newsletter with you.
Click below to read in full.
Training centre update: The roof is on!
Click below for an update on the training centre rebuilding project and Health and Hope's other work supporting remote communities in western Myanmar.
31st May 2019
Rebuilding the training centre: The final stretch
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 (HHM) work is based.
In addition, we were devastated to lose the majority of the HHM training centre; seven buildings were destroyed including the main training hall, kitchen and dining area and four dormitory buildings.
Over 18 months later, it's incredible to look back and see how much progress has been made on the building of the training centre post Cyclone Mora.
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.
We’re delighted that the building is now almost complete and that we’ve just received a significant grant for the last stage of work to put the roof on the building. In fact, a few weeks ago we hosted 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! In December, 28 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 fuurther training of health workers in February.
The video below gives an update on the project...
If you'd like to suppport the final efforts to complete the trianing centre, you can give to the project here.
28th February 2019
To Lailenpi and back again…
We're delighted to share our latest newsletter with you.
Click below to read in full.
7th February 2019
Latest update on maternal and neonatal health project
It was a delight to accompany one of our specialist midwifes from the UK, Frances Barnsely, on her seventh visit to Myanmar (Burma) in December 2018.
We have been running Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) training since 2013 from our base in Lailenpi, nestled in the jungles of western Chin State. As a result, many lives have been saved, with the local under-5 orphanage closing down in March 2018 thanks to the reduction in maternal deaths during childbirth.
With 166 women having received at least two trainings covering basic and advanced topics over the five prior years, there were now geographic challenges in reaching the more remote villages. To put this in context, some of the women had previously walked 5-6 days to participate in the week long training course, and on top of the return journey, it was proving too difficult to ask them to spend up to three weeks away from their families.
As such, at the beginning of 2018, we brought seven of the most experienced women together to take on new roles as local trainers. Each of the trainers were to visit 2-3 remote villages close to their homes to help expand the reach of the service. Key to the success of this new approach was how effective the local women would be at running their own training courses, in addition to whether they would be accepted in their local communities. With support from the local women's association, the trainers were able to deliver training to 91 new TBAs covering ten core topics. In addition, birthing bags and clean delivery kits were distributed through the network of trainers.
During our visit, Frances undertook a review of the trainers work through visiting villages on the back of a motorbike. After a gruelling ride over rough mountain tracks, she arranged a three day assessment for the women who had received the local training. In addition, Frances continued to up-skill and update the knowledge and professional practice of the trainers who attend a five day workshop at the Health and Hope clinic.
"I was so surprised how much the local women knew. I had never expected the trainers to be able to deliver so much of the course and so well. There were obviously differences between the villages, however overall, topics such as hand washing and knowledge of diet were excellent. There was still a need to support the women in greater understanding of the mechanisms of birth and they continue to need more practice in emergency drills, but this will come with time.
I think what struck me most was the impact of the training on the women's self-esteem. It was clear how the initiative had raised their status within the village which had a knock on effect on their confidence. Previously they were very insecure, lacking the self-belief that they had the ability to benefit from the training in Lailenpi. However, because they had the opportunity to practice with a local trainer and then meet us in person, they overwhelmingly expressed a deep desire to attend the full training course. The support of their local community is vital for this, and this was confirmed again and again by the village elders.
Overall, there was such excitement and joy in learning together, it was absolutely thrilling to be a part of it!”
31st January 2019
New Project: Education for All
"In my class, we don't have enough teachers, we don't have toilets, there's no water...I don't have a proper table to sit or a chair. We have to struggle a lot."Dipar, Chin State, Myanmar
Like Dipar, children in Chin State, Myanmar face a myriad of challenges in their attempts to secure a basic education at primary and secondary school.
Rugged geography, a scattered population, natural disasters, teaching in non-ethnic languages, challenges in retaining teachers and the highest rate of household poverty in Myanmar has led to a drop-out rate of 18% of children by the end of primary school.
Pass rates for high school students at grade 10 are also dismal. Officially, only 8% of children in the rural areas of Chin State pass their high school qualifications at age 16. In March 2017, the figures were even worse for children studying at the government school in Lailenpi, with less than 2% passing their exams. For those who do pass, financial constraints and lack of access to college education prevent most from continuing their studies.
Health and Hope Myanmar (HHM) launched a successful ‘Freedom to Education Project’ (FEP) in 2009, so far offering 85 students, who have passed their grade 10 exams and who carry a vision for the long term benefit of their people, the opportunity to pursue higher education. Students from the FEP have gone on to study medicine, engineering and business degrees and the first four graduates returned to Chin State to support the work of HHM in 2017. With many more following in their footsteps over the coming years.
To widen the impact of the FEP and address the shortfalls in education provision in Chin State, we are launching a new project, Education for All, a long sought-after education initiative amongst the rural poor in Chin State.
In the first year, the project aims to radically change the life opportunities of 100 impoverished high school students who are unable to break free from the cycle of poverty. Some have tried unsuccessfully for up to seven years to pass their exams. We want to change this and give them hope for the future.
Students will be supported through the provision of: high quality tuition from the returning FEP graduates, the translation of the curriculum into their local language, improved nutrition and access to a library of educational resources. The project will also provide a model for returning FEP graduates to use their skills to transform education in their home villages. Through this work, we hope to offer more local children the chance to reach their academic potential, building hope for a future generation of young leaders in Chin State.
Would you like to join with us? If you are able to help financially, a simple way to support this work is to become a founding partner by selecting 'Education' from our donate page and signing up for a direct debit online. As the project moves forward we'll send you updates on the work and stories from the children receiving support.
Health and Hope is a partnership between Health and Hope UK and Health and Hope Myanmar. Health and Hope UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England under Company No. 08290412 and Charity No. 1151105. Health and Hope Myanmar is registered in Myanmar under NGO Registration No. 0264.