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The New Building at Koenawin

The highlight of my recent visit to the Koenawin Monastery was being there to celebrate the beginning of construction for their new dormitory for girls.

You may recall from a previous report a few months back that we were seeking a donor to fund this building so the Monks at Koenawin could provide safe housing for at least 100 of the girls attending their school. This was particularly important because the surrounding area was not a safe place for the girls to be. Too many marauding soldiers in the ethnic armies looking for “wives”.

Well, I can happily report that one tremendously generous donor did step forward with a $60,000 donation to fully fund this construction. How awesome is that?

Since my trip had been planned for several weeks in advance, the Monks knew when I was coming. So, they delayed the beginning of construction until my arrival. Really, I thought?  A delay of two weeks just for

me? Then I realized how culturally important the beginning ceremonies were to them. I was proud to be there to represent our wonderful donor. That’s the 77 year-old Senior Monk on the left. The Education Monk is on the right.


It was big event with lots of people attending.

When I arrived the construction site was already staked out. As you may be able to see, the building will be build in three interconnected segments. The first (on the highest ground) will be just one story tall. The other two segments will each be two stories high. The last of the three segments can just barely be seen at the far right in this photo.

We walked the inside perimeters of each of the three building segments, blessing and purifying the ground as we went.

After that, the construction crews marked out the footing locations for the first segment. There we pounded ceremonial stakes to mark the center.

Now that the blessing ceremonies have been suitably conducted, the construction can begin. When finished in about four months, this new building will provide safe living accommodations for more than 150 girls cared for at the monastery and receiving a life-enhancing education.

Here’s my colleague, Treasure, with four of the older girls.

And, here’s a group of girls – soon to change the world — once they are equipped with their education.

All of us at the SE Asia Foundation are terribly proud to be a part of this wonderful new development.