Khone Suu Village Visit
February 2, 2016
Today we visited Khone Suu Village, in the dry zone south of Magwe, Myanmar. Getting there was quite an adventure.
I’ve driven on some pretty bad roads in my time exploring our U. S. Southwest desert country, but, never like this. Dirt road all the way, of course. Miles and miles of roadway covered with dust with a texture as fine as talcum powder and about six inches deep in many places. Our Toyota Land Cruiser got through okay, but the dust was incredible. And, irony of ironies, this very same location suffered record-breaking floods last August and September. Now it’s a dust bowl. This has created terrible effects on their rice farming. Villagers figure it’ll take them two years to restore the rice paddies to their former productivity.
Khone Suu is a fairly large village with 195 households and a total population of about 800. They have 43 kids of pre-school age – a primary concern for this resilient village. To the best of their knowledge they are the only village in the region that does not have any form of Early Childhood Development for their kids. They desperately want to create a pre-school.

Three very dedicated men of the village have generously donated a large parcel of land for the school. Already the land is cleared and graded, ready to begin construction. Once again, we see impressive commitment to the betterment of their community.

This is a very active village dedicated to improving their lot in life. That energy really shows up in the way they are recovering from last year’s devastating floods.

They have a village savings program they use for making micro-loans – with a very successful track record of 100% repayment. Their capital is now $5,000, $2,000 of which they are earmarking for investment in their pre-school. That would leave them with $3,000 to continue their micro-lending program. With a total budget of $7,100 for the school, they are $5,100 short of their goal.

Once again, in the spirit of helping people help themselves, we said: “let’s round up to provide for some furnishings and call the shortfall $6,000”. We then offered dollar-for-dollar matching when they raise the first $3,000. They were thrilled with that offer and even asked if we’d match an additional $1,000 for a library. Of course will would.

Moreover, working with another colleague in Myanmar – and outstanding woman named “Snow” – and her organization called Meikswe Myanmar – we are able to provide the pre-school with a full curriculum including teaching skills, parenting skills, capacity development, and fun activities for the kids in addition to the normal study materials.

Look for a progress report soon as these dedicated villagers go to work to provide their children with a progressive Early Childhood Development Program.