A video illustration of significant progress in various projects in Loilem.
The film was taken between October 19th and 22nd, 2016 (the video is at the bottom of this page).
The video illustrates the significant progress which has been made in implementing the St. Lazarus-Fonds plans for assisting the leper colony Loilem in Myanmar, particularly with the agricultural program. In the past Loilem has been dependent on charity for food. When the program is fully up and running, the colony will produce much of its own food and have a surplus which can be sold in local markets. The villagers are also receiving instruction and support on getting their farm going.
The agricultural program is part of a larger package of measures to provide education, improve living conditions, and to put the colony on the road to self-sufficiency.
The video also shows that in other matters there is a long way to go. Though when seen from a distance the villages may look colourful or even idyllic, the images at the end of the video give an idea of the poverty in which these people live.
That said, the intention of this project is to give these people hope and a realistic prospect of improving their future.
The main points in the video are:
Large portions of the St. Lazarus-Fonds financed projects have been put into practice. 1000 dragon fruit plants have been planted and the required concrete supporting posts put into place.
1400 of the planned 2000 mango and avocado trees have been planted. The rest will come in 2017. These fields must be cleaned and cleared of weeds. This is hard work, which is done by the occupants of the second and third villages.
The fish pond has been fenced in. So far 3000 fish have been put into the pond. The first of them will soon be big enough to be harvested. Next year the pond will be deepened.
The chicken coop has been enlarged and 200 new chickens purchased.
Cattle is one of the most expensive parts of the agricultural project. The St. Lazarus-Fonds has financed the purchase of 50 cows so far. The cows are let out to graze in the morning and brought back in the evening.
A seminar on profitability and marketing was being held for the farming committee while the film-maker was visiting. There were already been two other seminars on crops and cattle raising.
Father Tatizio (sp?), the new priest in the colony, oversees with the two nuns all the new agricultural projects.
The kindergarden and its new toilets have been fenced in.
The new wells keep the water tanks full and enable people in the main village to obtain water without going long distances for it.
The well construction in the second village is almost finished.
Well building has started in the third village, while three attempts to drill a well in the village Gompia have failed. There appears to be no possibility of a well here, so there is no hope of easy water access in the near term. During a conversation between Father Than and members of the village water committee there was a proposal to run a pipe from a water source 4km away. This is not unusual in Myanmar, but would cost more.
The film then moves on to discuss general living conditions. There is still much need in the main village. Accommodation is not comfortable and often not clean. This is particularly true for those who are the most ill.
Those in charge in the village see a particular problem with the toilet facilities. For the ill and infirm the latrines are difficult to use and are unhygienic. Many of them are also relatively far away. A new project has therefore been put forward to St. Lazarus-Fonds for approval. This involves building additions with sitting toilets to the houses in the main village. Additionally, training should cover better hygienic standards.