LAND GRABBING IN MYANMAR, OUR AGRO-FORESTATION PROJECT AT THE SENATE

LAND GRABBING IN MYANMAR, OUR AGRO-FORESTATION PROJECT AT THE SENATE

Last Tuesday, June the 28th, our desk officer Francesca Benigno explained the Myanmar case study during the seminar “Land owners” organized at the Council of the Italian Republic for the presentation of the V report about Land Grabbing in the world, edited by Focsiv.

After our participation in the campaign“Abbiamo riso per una cosa seria”  organized by Focsiv, thanks to which our volunteers sold rice to support our agro-forestation project in Shan State , Focsiv asked us to present our project during this seminar and asked also to explain the Myanmar’s land grabbing situation and what we are concretely doing to face this problem through our land tenure trainings.

It’s hard to evaluate the size of the land grabbing in Myanmar, as there aren’t reliable official data nor an official register of grabbed land. Nevertheless it’s sure that we are talking about millions of acres, and so about a phenomenon involving millions of people. Main estimations talk about numbers around 5 and 6 millions of grabbed acres, to which we should add all the lands left behind by the hundreds of thousands of displaced people who left their lands after the military coup and who are now occupied by the actual government.

Francesca exposed several very interesting data, without the chance to deepen them because of limited time of the intervention. Here you can find her speech reported by Mondo e Missione and at this link you can watch directly her intervention, since minute 52:00. 

At the same link you can also see all other interventions, very interesting, among them we certainly want to point out the final intervention of don Bruno Bignami, who brought a very interesting interpretation of Land Grabbing as a sum of subtractions: of work, of biodiversity, of food and of community. He presented in this way this phenomenon as a part of a global socio-environmental crisis which cannot be faced without an “integrated ecological” approach.

We really appreciated his intervention because also our rural development projects aims to face the problem with the same approach: trying to fight at the same time both climate change and poverty of the farmers in Shan State.

 

We therefore consider even more important our intervention in agricultural communities in Shan State, where all farmers who attend agricultural trainings also attend land tenure trainings. We started to organize this activity since 2018, because of a starting of law’s renovation. Our training usually starts then with a short introduction to the regulatory framework in Myanmar, in order to show to farmers different level of classification of the lands and laws which should protect them. After that we draw together a map of the village in order to define lands borders and to see to which classification they are included, identifying in this way their rights upon these lands. And finally we accompany them in the registration process.

The week before the seminar, our agronomist in Taunggyi visited a village tract who attended our training in 2020. It’s a community of about 203 households, almost all families incomes are from agriculture through the cultivation of corn, rice and beans. When we first met them nobody had a property document of their land, even though they all considered to be the owners only because these lands have been cultivated by their families since generations.  When they realized that without an official registration their lands were considered “unoccupied”, and so at risk of expropriation, they all wanted to start the registration process. It took a lot of time, more than a year to do all evaluations and verifications and finally complete the registration.

When our agronomist went there they told her that in previous months a company came to their village and asked to buy 80 acres of land for an intensive cultivation of corn. Community just ended registration process and, thanks to the property documents they had in their hands, they could refuse and preserve their lands.

 

The witnessing of these farmers community was then really appreciated during the seminar, especially the words of one of the farmers, U lone Su, who said: “We refused their proposal and didn’t sell our land. This land has been cultivated by our families since generations, it belongs to us. The land, the soil, our natural resources are the most important things we have!”.

And exactly these are the words who could synthesize the report edited by Focsiv and the whole seminar’s meaning, which concluded exactly with this motto: “The land to whomever is cultivating it!”

We would therefore thank Francesca for presenting our work in an excellent way and our local staff who is carrying on with dedication and constancy, despite the difficult times, an extremely important work both on local level and on global level.

A BIT OF HOPE FOR DISPLACED CHILDREN

A BIT OF HOPE FOR DISPLACED CHILDREN

Since February 2022 until today 211 displaced children in Taunggyi had the chance to attenda school again and to re-gain a bit of hope. Here some updates from our project coordinator of Do Giaong – Our School.

“Initially established as a rehabilitation center for drug addicts and alcoholics, the House of Dreams  has opened its doors to families, youth and the elderly fleeing conflict zones or different kinds of persecution and oppression, since the beginning of the political situation following the coup d’état.

The first group of people arrived the second week of February 2021, and to date The House of Dreams has given hospitality to hundreds of people. Thanks to the refugee support campaign in Myanmar, we had the chance to reach out and give logistical, food, and health support to thousands of refugees scattered over a vast territory that touches at least four dioceses- Loikaw, Phekon, Taunggyi, Taungoo.

Around the end of December 2021, talking with the families in the house, an urgent need was raising: the large educational gap that has been created over the past two years, partly because of the pandemic. There are also other refugee shelters in the city neighborhood where The House of Dreams is located, so in a meeting between the heads of these centers, we made the decision to open a new educational space for school-aged boys and girls, all of whom are war-displaced.

The school opened on February 3, 2021 with more than 180 boys and girls divided into two sections: the House of Dreams section and the Infant Jesus section (the Infant Jesus section is an orphanage and shelter for people with different types of disabilities, run by the Sisters of the Child Mary).

Since then the number of students has gone up, and as of today 211 students are attending the school.

We began this journey without knowing whether we would be able and carry it out even for a few weeks, with the uncertainty of controls by the authorities currently in power, and without being able to predict which was the psychological condition of the boys and girls who asked to go on this journey with us.

The school’s goal is educational and rehabilitative in a very broad sense, our focus is first and foremost on discovering, listening to, and, as far as possible, healing different kinds of trauma that these boys and girls have gone through: assault by the military, violent death, abuses of various kinds. In the recent history and memory of these children and young people, there is a lot of violence suffered.

The formative tool that we wanted to emphasize is the relationship with the students. Our desire is to make children and young people feel the presence of non-threatening adults, adults they can trust, to whom they can entrust their history, their path, and thus reactivate a common path of rebuilding the future, or at least a desire for the future.

Through this formative and rehabilitative relationship, our lessons intend to foster shared feelings, to stable bonds among students, to reactivate motivational processes and light up a new positive imagination about the future.

Do Giaong is a challenge for everyone: for the students who attend it, for the teachers who walk with the children and youth, for the refugees who live in The House of Dreams.”

We truly thank all those who made this dream come true giving in this way a bit of hope to those children, we’ll keep you updated!

 

THE GOLDEN BEEHIVE AT SAN SIRO STADIUM!

THE GOLDEN BEEHIVE AT SAN SIRO STADIUM!

“The future starts here!”

Last saturday, archbishop Mario Delpini met all children waiting for the Confirmation in San Siro Stadium, during this meeting FOM (Fondazione Oratori Milanesi) decided to introduce everybody to one of our projects in Myanmar: the Golden Beehive!

During this day 40.000 people had the chance to watch the video presentation of the project, and moreover our projects reached every parrish in the diocese because it was inserted in the preparation path for catechism. 

Lots of groups dedicated a special collect to our children in Insein, and some of them made it with originality and creativity. Here some pictures from two parrishes, look how wodnerful they are!

We also want to show you the video presentation of the project which have been shown last saturday, in this video our program manager, José Magro, is telling us how this project started and how it is going now. 

Many news talked about the event also mentioning New Humanity’s project, here you can see the TG3 news of saturday night, an article of Milano Today and an article from the site of Milan’s church.

As you already know, this project is about a little pre-scholar centre for children aged 4, in order to start a pre-scholar education and, meanwhile, spread awareness among families regarding health and hygiene. 

In this slum there are 350 families, for a total of 1500 people, among them 89 children under 5 years old.

The school’s name is Golden Beehive. Beehive as a community in which everybody is taking care of others, in which everybody has his own role and leaders could take care of little ones. Golden because it is the sacred colour of Myanmar people.

The start up of the school and the elaboration of the program has been possible under the supervision of Josè Magro, psychologist with specialization in development and childhood psychology.

Last April the 25th, 60 children were welcomed for their first official school-day!

 

In the school we developed propaedeutic subjects to school integration, but we also focus on relational abilities and emotional development of children.

We organized the day into 2 shifts, in order to welcome a greater amount of children, involving 31 children in the morning and 29 children in the afternoon. 

If you want to support this project you can see the project’s table and find supporting modalities at this page.

Now we only have to wait and see the wonderful change the this new center will produce in the slum, we’ll keep you updated

 

THE GOLDEN BEEHIVE FINALLY STARTED!

THE GOLDEN BEEHIVE FINALLY STARTED!

“The future starts here!”

Again big news from Yangon! Do you remember the new educational project in a slum of Insein? Yesterday was the first official school-day at our Golden Beehive

It’s a small early childhood education centre for children aged among 3 and 4 years old, in order to start a work in pre-scholar education and, at the same time, to approach families with the aim of spreading awareness about sanitation and hygiene.

In this slum there are 350 families, for a total of 1500 people, among them 89 children under 5 years old.

The school’s name is Golden Beehive. Beehive as a community in which everybody is taking care of others, in which everybody has his own role and leaders could take care of little ones. Golden because it is the sacred colour of Myanmar people.

The start up of the school and the elaboration of the program has been possible under the supervision of JosèMagro, psychologist with specialization in development and childhood psychology.

Last 23rd of April there was the first parent’s meeting and yesterday, April the 25th, 60 children were wlecomed for their first official school-day!

School’s building went very well and teachers’ training already concluded.

In the school will be developed propaedeutic subjects to school integration, but we will also focus on relational abilities and emotional development of children.

We will pay special attention on vulnerability cases, in order to start individual and family’s psychologic therapies.

We organized the day into 2 shifts, in order to welcome a greater amount of children, involving 31 children in the morning and 29 children in the afternoon. 

If you want to support this project you can see the project’s table and find supporting modalities at this page

Now we only have to wait and see the wonderful change the this new center will produce in the slum, we’ll keep you updated

 

TOGETHER FOR MYANMAR AT PIME CENTER IN MILAN

TOGETHER FOR MYANMAR AT PIME CENTER IN MILAN

Last saturday, April the 9th, at PIME center in Milan we lived a day dedicated to Myanmar named “Together for Myanmar“. Participation has been higher than foreseen and Myanmar community was very happy and satisfied for the attention paid.

A lot of events have been organized. The first one was a laboratory for children organized by Popoli e Culture museum, the income of which was dedicated for the emergency fund for Myanmar. The second appointment, again for the little ones, has been organized by the education to globality office of PIME foundation and involved children in a story telling on a burmese tale written by the local organization “Third Story project”.

During these first appointments many people also attended the guided visits organized by the museum about Myanmar objects and culture.

After that it was the time of a conference with the intervention of several witnesses from Myanmar, with the mediation of our Francesca Benigno: Yi Mon, who talked about her childhood and the wieght the politic had during her life; mother Regina, who told us her experience in Myanmar since 2020, and father Dominic, who talked about his run from Myanmar after the events of last february 2021. At the end of the conference we also had the chance to meet five seminarians who just came to PIME seminary to study.

During the happy hour, with burmese and italian food, Myanmar community showed few local popular dances from Myanmar, with great enthusiasm of all people, more than 100 people attended this moment.

The evening closed with a full Cremonesi’s hall for the monologue about father Cremonesi’s life, an elaboration of his writings made by F. Tampieri with the music of C. Franco which trasnported us in the Burma of last century.

An intense day, with an extraordinary participation, to which we were really grateful and happy to participate.

Thanks to PIME center and to Myanmar community in Italy for making this possible!

THE GOLDEN BEEHIVE IN A SLUM OF INSEIN

THE GOLDEN BEEHIVE IN A SLUM OF INSEIN

“Our future starts here!”

Great news from Yangon! We’re starting up a new education project in a slum of Insein. We are building a small early childhood education centre for children aged 4 years old, in order to start a work in pre-scholar education and, at the same time, to approach families with the aim of spreading awareness about sanitation and hygiene.

After the Nargis storm in 2008 a group of families come to a corner in Insein, building shacks on a junkyard. Nowadays in this slum there are 350 families, for a total of 1500 people, among them 89 children under 5 years old.

Shacks are illegal and families never got registered after their arrival in the city. Children born after their arrival never got registered, so officially they don’t exist and so they have no right to access education nor health system.

Hygienic conditions of the slum are precarious, with a consequent spread of infectious diseases. Families work on daily labour, often learning less than 5.000 MMK per day (around 2,50 €), without any perspective for the future.

Scholastic cycle in Myanmar start at the age of 5 years old. Working with children aged 4 years old will allow us to start an education formation before the official cycle and, at the same time, to start working with families in order to organize meetings regarding hygiene and sanitation.

If political conditions will be better we would start also a work of support to families for registration, in order to make children able to access educational and health system.

The school’s name is Golden Beehive. Beehive as a community in which everybody is taking care of othersm in which everybody has his own role and leaders could take care of little ones. Golden because it is the sacred colour of Myanmar people.

The start up of the school and the elaboration of the program will be under the supervision of Josè Magro, psychologist with specialization in development and childhood psychology.

In the school will be developed propaedeutic subjects to school integration, but we will also focus on relational abilities and emotional development of children.

We will pay special attention on vulnerability cases, in order to start individual and family’s psychologic therapies.

We will organize the day into 2 shifts, in order to welcome a greater amount of children, involving 30 children in the morning and 30 children in the afternoon.

In this way we would grant an high standard of education and we will reach up to 60 families.

In order to start the school we foresee following actions:

  1. Building

We already bought a small piece of land inside the slum and we started building the centre. I twill be a simple building: a hall with a kitchen and 2 toilets.

2. Teachers formation

We already selected 2 teachers who will follow classes. Together with teachers we are selecting 4 assistants, who will be trained by teachers themselves by the end of April.

3. Purchase of the material

    1. We want to keep the centre as simple as possible, in order to have a versatile space. We will buy also educational games and didactical material.

    2. Functioning for one year

    We foresee to start classes by the beginning of the summer. Due to the hard poverty of families and malnutrition incidence we foresee also providing food to 60 children who will attend the school. Our project’s staff will be 4 teachers, 1 cook and the project coordinator. Children attending the school and their families will have also granted access to health care. We will organize also periodic meetings with parents about parenting education, hygiene and sanitation.

    If you want to support this project you can see the project’s table and find supporting modalities at this page 

    We’re looking forward to see how it will be and to meet all children who are going to attend the new school, we will keep you updated!