|Sasa's Place of Health and Hope|
In our Winter 2008 newsletter, we ran a story on Sasa, who was then a sixth year medical student studying in Armenia. This update comes from our newsletter issued in the Summer of 2010.
He was supported by Prospect Burma throughout his seven years of studies, and graduated as a doctor last Summer.
In our original story, we told how Sasa had gone to Mizoram with a mobile clinic to offer aid to Chin villages whose population at the time was suffering from famine due to the flowering bamboo and plague of rats. He returned a second time with another mobile clinic, and was given a large parcel of land by Mara churches close to the border between India and Burma in Mizoram State, India.
As soon as he graduated just twelve months ago, Sasa went back and with the help of local people the plot of land was cleared of trees, and Sasa’s vision to establish “A Place of Hope”, where Burmese Community Health Workers could be trained, rose from the ground. By the Autumn of 2009, the building programme had largely been completed with a lecture hall seating 350, kitchens, sleeping accommodation for over 300, and toilet facilities.
Sasa had asked the headman of 147 villages in the Chin hills to each nominate two people (one male/one female) to come to his centre and be trained as Community Health Workers. The first stage of the training commenced in November 2009 and several doctors from the UK came to assist Sasa in preparing the curriculum. In addition to training on site in basic healthcare, the Health Care Workers were also commissioned to conduct surveys in their own villages on their return, recording information such as total population, children under five, pregnancies—much of which has never been recorded before, and will provide valuable information for the future. The second phase of training took place in January for six weeks, and the final training block for the initial 317 health care workers will commence this Autumn for eight weeks.
“There is a beginning but there is no ending” says Sasa.
The Community Health Workers come from all walks of life, some are church ministers, some are mothers, many have walked on foot for several days through the Chin hills. There are regular exams and role playing, morning exercises, debates, volley ball games and prayer meetings. The syllabus is based mainly on a book called “Where There Is No Doctor” and all Community Health Workers have been issued with a copy of it in Burmese along with a thermometer, stethoscope and blood pressure cuff.
The Trustees of Prospect Burma decided that this exceptional educational project falls into the charity’s remit, and on behalf of all our donors, we are delighted to be able to continue to support Sasa in his work.
Sasa is, without doubt, an extraordinary young man, and we are privileged to come across many other young Burmese with a burning ambition to help their country and their people. An ambition that depends upon an education that they cannot access in their own country, and cannot afford overseas. This is where our Adopt a Scholarship scheme comes in to play. Prospect Burma supporters can pay £800 per annum towards a part scholarship for one of our students—in some cases that goes towards a substantial part of the scholarship grant, in other cases it is a minor portion. But what an incredible investment in human kind. Within a year of leaving university, Sasa will have passed health education on to over 300 Burmese people, who in turn, will take that education back to their 147 villages in the Chin hills and share it with 130,000 Burmese men, women and children, and in many cases their new found knowledge will literally be life saving. As Sasa says above “there is no ending” and as long as funds come in, he will continue to train more health workers.
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