UPLift--Poverty Alleviation For The Ultra-Poor

UPLift is a program designed to empower communities on the Thai/Burmese border that lack food security, opportunities for income, and education. Through the use of small grants and skills trainings, these families receive the opportunity to pull themselves out of poverty without having to rely on external aid indefinitely.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Welcoming the Rains...And Our Newest Staff!

Heidi and U Tin Yu at the training site

We here at Khom Loy are very happy to introduce you to our newest staff members -- Heidi Mahoney and U Tin Yu!

Heidi has come to take over the role of Program Manager for all UPLift projects here in Mae Sot.  Formerly a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sri Saket, Thailand, she speaks Thai fluently and is picking up Burmese very quickly!  Previously Heidi received an MPA in International Management at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California.  She is also an avid yoga enthusiast, serving as a certified instructor in the US and looking into teaching classes here in her free time.

U Tin Yu began working with Khom Loy this March.  His main role is to serve as a field manager and trainer for the agricultural training program we have set up at the Teacher Preparation Center (TPC) in Mae Sot.  In addition to experience working on raising pigs in deep-litter beds, he also has extensive experience in growing long-term crops and fruits.  U Tin Yu's family is with him on site at TPC, not only meaning that he can feel satisfied with his family nearby but also that we can test more ideas on how a single family can raise enough income for themselves via organic agriculture and pig rearing.

You'll be seeing more of both of them as the year goes on!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Training Teachers on Organic Agriculture and Pig Rearing

The pig pen area seen from afar

2013 has been a busy time thus far: finishing up our cold season school garden programs, having new faces arrive to the team and also planning for the future.  With many and more changes slowly unfolding inside of Burma, we have designed and set up a training center at which educators from rural areas of the country learn valuable techniques for producing food and income for their schools and students.  Our recently completed agricultural training center is close to launching its program.

(For more pictures the center being set up, click here)

The center is located at Teacher Preparation College (TPC) in Mae Sot, Thailand.  TPC is a teacher college that works with educators from ethnic minority regions inside of Burma.  Each year between 70 and 100 educators come to TPC for an entire year of teacher training that is designed to strengthen rural schools upon their return.  It is run by a unique set of organizations:
·      Karen Teacher’s Working Group, a local organization that has painstakingly set up a network of community schools in rural, mountainous areas of Burma.  They have been working over the past few years to expand this network even more so and now work with schools having eleven different ethnicities.
·      World Education, an international NGO that focuses on migrant and refugee-based projects on the Thai-Burmese border.
·      Global Neighbors, a Canadian organization that works with border populations and owns a 75-rai farm center on which TPC is based.

KLDF staff discussing plans with faculty from TPC
Finished digging 120 holes for shwe-nga-pyaw-dii banana plants from Karen State

Given the potential benefits of working together with educators from all around Burma, KLDF felt that having a training system that participants can use to set up food projects in many underprivileged areas will be an important factor in having long-lasting schools that provide sound education for ethnic minorities.

Pictured below is a Google Earth aerial shot of the 5 rai of land at TPC that Khom Loy has acquired.  Use the key below to reference our set-up.  As of now, the pig houses (3 yellow boxes in a row) are built, our gardener’s house is complete (running parallel to the North border); the compost and storage houses are built as well—the remaining yellow boxes.  The land for new crops is partitioned off in pink—the rectangle for sweet potatoes and the triangle for the three sisters: corn, beans and pumpkin.


Now that capital setup is finished, we are working hard to have our first round of pigs on site very soon.  We will send updates as they occur.

Our next post will introduce you to our newest staff members here at Khom Loy!