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Myanmar: Sustainable Agriculture in Hpa-an Villages

Naw (R) with her baby on her back is delighted with the new rice mill. © CPM, 2019. Used with permission.
Naw (R) with her baby on her back is delighted with the new rice mill. © CPM, 2019. Used with permission.

Naw is 35. She lives in a village in Myanmar’s Kayin State. One of her duties is to pound the paddy seeds to separate rice from its husk to be able to cook it. There is no rice mill in her village so Naw and her husband had to carry 40kg paddy seed bags on their backs to a traditional rice mill. This involved a two hour walk over a stony dirt road, crossing many streams on their way. They would then return to their village in the same manner. 

Naw also had her baby on her back, tied by a thick shawl, while she pounded the paddy seeds. “I have to get up at about two or three in the morning and go to the next village to pound rice. My legs get so tired from pounding the rice especially with the baby on my back. I do not have any choice because if I don’t do it, my family won’t get rice and will go hungry.” 

When her village participated in the sustainable agriculture project, they chose a new rice mill as their priority. This was installed in mid-2018. These days, Naw has a radiant smile on her face, as she says, “There are many benefits from the rice mill. I don’t have to get up so early in the morning and lose sleep anymore. My legs are not tired and there is no more carrying the rice bags back and forth. I am so happy.” 

Not only has the mill saved people like Naw the time spent travelling to another village, the village development committee has been able to rent out their new mill to people from neighbouring villages. 

Because of rent from the rice mill, the villagers now also have a social activities fund which will go towards health, education and other needs of their village . They also have more time for their families. 

Naw’s village is becoming a place of laughter and good health and they believe even more can be achieved in the years to come. 

ABM is working with the Diocese of Hpa-an, part of the Church in the Province of Myanmar, in two villages in Kayin State. The project provides farming skills to 155 families who have been “internally displaced” (living as refugees within their own country). Their lives have been completely torn apart by earlier ethnic conflicts and they are now seeking a new start. The project will also assist these families to strengthen their resilience and help them build stronger communities. 

As well as the rice mill, the villagers received training in organic fertilisers, agriculture methods and financial management, as well as parenting, the rights of people with a disability, and women’s empowerment. 

This year we aim to continue supporting 155 families suffering from the effects of internal displacement to build healthy and self-reliant communities. 

 

In 2020 the Sustainable Agriculture in Hpa-an Villages Project needs $22,000 (tax-deductible)

  • Village training and workshops on child protection, gender and parenting cost $450 each, covering a week’s worth of travelling for diocesan project staff 

  • A two-week residential training in Yangon for six farmers from the two villages to learn about sustainable agriculture methods costs $900 

  • The cost of setting up a village farm to reduce slash and burn farming and diversify family incomes is 2,500 AUD (this covers wire fencing and banana and yam tubers for planting) 

Your support of this project will make a lasting difference to almost 1,000 people, like Naw, who are rebuilding their lives following the devastation of many years of conflict.
 


HOW TO DONATE

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  • Alternatively, for donations by cheque/money order (made out to the Anglican Board of Mission - Australia), telephone or email, view contact details here. Please don’t forget to include the project name and/or code MM001SA with your payment details.

Gifts to ABM will be applied to the support of project(s) selected. In the unlikely event of the project being oversubscribed or not proceeding to completion, donations will be applied to a similar project to the one(s) selected.

 Australian Aid logo    This project receives partial funding from the Australian Government.
Community Development badge  This is part of the Community Development Program: Learn more about ABM's Programs 


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