This is one of our more recent projects for support. In Myanmar, monastery schools are an “equal” alternative to government schools. In many locations they are the only alternative available to kids from remote villages.
That is the situation at Inn Gyn Poo. We’ve worked with the head monk there, a dedicated fellow called U Maheinda, since late 2017. Located in Hpa-an, the capital city of the Karen State, he is operating a boarding school to educate 222 secondary and high school kids (146 girls and 76 boys at last count). In addition, he also provides housing for another 25 students attending the local Hpa-an University.
U Mahenida is facing huge challenges. Raising the funds necessary to support his monthly budget is a major challenge. The local villagers are poor. The kids that come to him from distant villages are equally poor.
This is where our notion of sustainability and social enterprise fits into the picture. The monk identified an unfilled need in the local market. There was an opportunity to haul rocks, gravel, and sand from the local quarry to construction sites in and around Hpa-an. We examined his business plan. It made good sense so we funded the purchase of a used dump truck. Right away he began making money.
When we visited again a few months later we asked U Maheinda about his current challenges. Immediately he said he had so much business that he needed a second truck to handle the volume. So, we made him a matching money offer that he readily accepted. Now he has two dump trucks – and, most importantly, a steady stream of earned income to help with the costs of running his school.
Greater challenges are still ahead. His facilities can be described as “basic” at best as evident from too few classrooms and crowded dorms for the girls and boys, not to mention other essential needs such as toilets, shower facilities, kitchen, and dining hall. I think we can help here.
U Mahenida has a vision. We’re working with him to develop a three-year master plan for his monastery school. That will involve finishing the new classroom building now under construction, building two new dorms – one for girls and one for boys, refurbishing the existing dorm for 80 girls, providing still more classrooms, updating the toilet and shower facilities, and expanding the food preparation and dining areas.
We’re still working on the master plan, but already we can see this is a BIG project, most likely to be in the range of $250,000. Yes, that is a lot of money, but the good news is that with the money from his social enterprise the Monk will be able to cover a large portion of his running cost to maintain and operate these new facilities.
Should you wish to help with the development of this campus please click click here and indicate that you’d like your funds to support U Mahenida at the Inn Gyn Poo Monastery School and his vision to provide the boarding school these kids deserve.