Boarding House in Chin state

Chin State is one of the poorest and most isolated states in Burma, located on the border with India. The area is located at a high altitude, the roads are not yet well consolidated and supplies and transport are difficult. The most isolated villages are several hours away from any centre of activity and frequent landslides tend to increase their isolation. It is in this context that Guillaume chose to concentrate his action.

Guillaume has travelled the country for years and supported and developed many projects. He settled in TuiThang in 2016, to develop a BoardingHouse (the equivalent of a boarding school), where he welcomes children from remote villages and orphans for free, thanks to his association Nimalay. We met Guillaume a few years ago and he never ceased to impress us with his commitment, strength and creativity in this BoardingHouse, which he runs full time on a voluntary basis.

Today, some thirty children and orphans are helped by Guillaume. His BoardingHouse works as follows

– the children are housed in dormitories with bunk beds and trunks for each child to store their personal belongings. They are also fed, with balanced meals prepared by a cook.

– Children of all religions are accepted and encouraged to communicate/practise freely (Buddhist children take their Catholic friends to the monastery, and vice versa). They are free to practice, but no additional religious training is provided by William.

– In these remote places, the children sometimes speak only Chin, which clearly handicaps them when it comes to starting to study in Burmese. Guillaume and the teachers who work with him provide the children with Burmese language lessons and help them with their revision and homework.

– The children are fully supported in their schooling, but to compensate for the shortcomings of the Burmese school system (learning by rote, no development of critical thinking), Guillaume and the teachers who work with him give English and computer lessons in the western mode, through practice and play. The children speak better English there than in any other orphanage/boardinghouse we visited in Burma. They also know how to be self-sufficient by searching the internet, writing documents, sending messages, and having fun doing it. They will come out with diplomas and skills that will allow them to find work anywhere in Burma.

– Guillaume’s project is growing, as he opens one class per year (to allow the first children and orphans to move up to the next class). The project is official with the Burmese state, which sends him orphans and disadvantaged children; the rest of the time, it is Guillaume who sometimes travels up to 10 hours on small dirt roads to reach the most isolated villages and offer his help.

– Guillaume and the children are also developing their self-sufficiency, as we did with Mary’s project: a large henhouse with nearly two hundred chickens + a small pig farm + a greenhouse and cultivation terraces (those who have been following us for a few years will surely remember the Molcard brothers, who came to our orphanage to develop food self-sufficiency; we directed them to Guillaume, whom they had also helped) + a mushroom cellar + future projects for beehives and fish farming