Nat Maw Village Preschool
Nat Maw Village is situated on Bilu (Giant) Island in the Than Lwin River located in western portion of Mon State in Myanmar. For many years this island could only be reached by ferryboat from the nearest city of Mawlamyine, landing at Nat Maw Village. Then, in early 2019 a bridge was constructed to connect this island to the mainland, giving rise to unintended consequences.
In 2018 the economy of Nat Maw Village (poor at best) was devastated by the loss of it’s primary economic engine – namely all the activity accompanying three ferry boat landings and departures each day.
Having worked with the Village Committee in Nat Maw and helping them to improve their modest preschool for 60 kids and three teachers since 2016, this impact was immediately apparent. Over the years we had finished the construction of the initial building, provided educational matrials, doubled the size of the school with a second building of equal size, fenced the property, brought in water, constructed toilets and sinks (for the kids and for the teachers) and built a sheltered outdoor playground.
Now their hopes to continue this progress were dimmed. What little the villagers could afford to contribute to support their preschool was no longer available. Simply put, the poor just got poorer.
So we held a series of meetings with the Village Committee to explore ideas about what the community might do in the form of a social enterprise to achieve some sustainability for their preschool.
Many alternatives were discussed. The idea most favored by the Committee was to create a “rice bank” whereby they would purchase a large volume of rice at harvest time (when rice prices are low), store it safely (right behind the preschool), and then sell it to local villagers at prevailing market prices throughout the year. The modest profit from such an undertaking could generate enough revenue to pay the teacher’s salaries. They presented a business plan. We examined that plan. We liked it and funded the rice bank.
In late 2019 we again met with the Committee to see how the first year turned out. Even though rice prices had been depressed and were less than anticipated, they still made a worthwhile profit from their rice bank – sufficient to provide each of the three teachers with a 50% bonus on their modest salaries. The Committee members were proud of what they had accomplished and the teachers were thrilled to say the least.
Now they are all geared up to repeat the process for next year.
While the profits from the rice bank are certainly nice, they are not yet enough to fully fund the preschool. In late 2019 the Committee put forth another business plan – this one much more ambitious. Their wish was to purchase a tractor so they could do contract work in field preparation and road maintenance. Once again, their business plan for this social enterprise was soundly presented and we funded it.
They will take delivery of this brand new Kubota tractor in January 2020. We’re optimistic that successfully operating this business will not only fully fund the preschool, but provide enough revenue so that the Committee can also begin to address some of the most pressing needs at the village primary school.

These dedicated folks are working hard to educate their kids. Should you wish to help them do this simply click click here.
Just indicate that your donation is for Nat Maw Village and we’ll see that it gets to the right place.