Villagers determine their community’s most pressing needs and invest time, money, and labor to creating innovative program solutions.

Supporting Education

We partner with villages to improve learning environments, enhance the quality of education, and increase access to schools.

  • Preschools: dynamic early learning environments for 3-5-year-olds.
  • New Primary & Middle Schools: instead of dark and cold bamboo schools, the villagers build ones from concrete block that offer plenty of light and space.
  • English Summer School: middle school students improve their English-language skills by attending village-based classes.
  • Libraries: encouraging a love of reading by providing Burmese, English, and Tribal books and introducing reading time at primary school.

Improving Health Care

Shanta offers a range of training to local health care providers, enhancing local capacity to provide quality care.

  • Auxiliary Village Nurse-Midwife Program (VNM): Chosen by her village and trained by Shanta affiliates, the VNM provides prenatal and childbirth services, infant care, contraception, hospital referrals, and general medicine.
  • Village Health Educators (VHE): A group of five women in each village is trained to provide educational workshops for young mothers that cover family planning, nutrition, safe delivery options, infant care and more.
  • Dental Care: Supported by donations made to the Tom Grams Memorial Fund, Shanta arranges for local dentists to offer free dental care and oral hygiene to all villagers, often the first and only dental care that village children receive.

Expanding Livelihood Opportunities

We create income-generating opportunities that improve quality of life and generate funds for ongoing village development activities.

  • Community Loan Fund (CLF): Shanta provides a matching grant of up to $1,500 to establish the CLF. Managed by a trained village committee, the CLF lends money to villagers at an affordable interest rate. Interest stays in the village, growing the fund for future development projects.
  • Pig Farms: Each year, ten families are given an adult sow to breed or fatten, and are trained to operate it as a business. The poorest families are given additional support and can easily triple their annual family income.
  • Coffee Farms: Shanta provides training and supplies for all interested families. Participants use cooperative marketing to access Myanmar-based wholesalers.

Training Local, Participatory Leadership

Shanta trains local village leadership to inspire confidence, encourage trust-building, and ensure program sustainability.

  • Shanta trains an elected and representative group of women and men to work closely with Shanta staff and manage village development.
  • Shanta staff conduct monthly development meetings to: provide mentoring and training in participatory leadership, determine ongoing needs and priorities, plan, implement and evaluate programs, create solutions for problems and challenges.
  • Shanta conducts multi-day trainings in participatory leadership, development concepts and principles, project management, conflict resolution & management skills.

Building Infrastructure

We support infrastructure projects that make a significant difference in the lives of all members of the community.

  • Clean Water Systems: our clean water systems protect natural sources from contamination and deliver safe, clean water to taps near village homes, saving time and energy.
  • Solar Lighting Systems: with no electricity, families use candles, kerosene lanterns, or open fires for indoor light, which is both dangerous and contributes to health problems and deforestation. Shanta provides matching grants so families can purchase one solar panel, a 12-volt battery, wiring and fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Road and Bridge Improvement: bad roads cut villages off from markets, schools, and health care facilities. Shanta helps to fund the cost of engineering, supplies and machinery rental for improved roads and bridges that facilitate important transportation of crops to market, travel for health emergencies, and purchases from nearby towns.

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