Lin Phon village is situated in Pin Laung Township, 29 kilometers from the nearest town. It has 56 homes with a population of 290 people of the Pao ethnic group. Farming is the village’s primary source of revenue, and they raise corn, potatoes, and tomatoes. Poor families represent 49 of 56 households, or 87%.
Lin Phon Village started partnering with Shanta Foundation in 2019 and has completed numerous community development initiatives. The community and the village development team (VDT) chose road repair, water system, and school construction as the top three objectives for 2023. Finally, the community agreed to collaborate with Shanta on the primary school infrastructure project. The school has 48 children in kindergarten through 5th grade and four teachers. The original school building was 45′ long and 18′ wide, with only three rooms, which was insufficient for all of the classes. The village constructed two additional temporary classrooms with metal roofs and walls.
Together, the VDT and the infrastructure committee developed the proposal and submitted it to Shanta, requesting $12,000 and promising a community contribution of $3,830, or over 25% of the overall expenditure. Each of the 56 houses will contribute 80,000 kyats ($38), with an additional 3,618,000 kyats ($1,700) coming from the village-owned fund.
The infrastructure committee oversaw the construction of the primary school in March of 2023. The project ran into funding issues resulting in greater costs due to inflation, a result of the instability being felt throughout Myanmar. Urgent meetings were called between the infrastructure committee and Shanta staff to develop a solution. The building required an additional $7,200 in order to be completed. Shanta determined that Lin Phon is not an abundant community, but the village was inspired to contribute more from their side. Consequently, Shanta contributed an additional $3,600, and the community contributed an additional $3,600. The overall cost was $23,100, with Shanta contributing $15,600 and the community contributing $7,500. As a result, the primary school building project of a 90’x30’x12′ concrete building with four classrooms and one office space was completed in June 2023.
U Htun Aung, chairman of the infrastructure committee, stated, “This was our first experience leading management from the planning stage to completion, which was a vast and valuable learning experience for us. We learned about estimating finances, drafting and submitting proposals to donors, and accepting obligations and accountability. We are honored and appreciative that Shanta is not leaving us alone to bear the cost of exceeding the budgeted budget. We recognize that this implies a genuine partnership.“
Lin Phon village is sponsored in full by a dedicated supporter through a 6-year commitment. They have been an integral part of Lin Phon’s success through the years. With one more year remaining in our partnership with Lin Phon, we are confident that Lin Phon will prosper, remain on its trajectory out of extreme poverty, and continue to work collaboratively to better the lives of each member of their community into the future.