The timber and corrugated iron clad buildings wouldn’t win any architecture prizes but as campuses go, it’s one of the most extraordinary.
Hours from the nearest town, phone line or power supply and set amidst an almost impenetrable landscape, lies a flourishing healthcare training centre.
It’s situated in the Chin State of Myanmar (Burma), in a remote area characterised by high hills, steep valleys and dense forest. There’s not a road in sight, only a river cuts through the curtain of green.
The immense challenges of the topography surrounding the centre testify loudly of the determination to teach and of people’s yearning to learn.
Everything from timber to textbooks was carried here by the strain of human bodies, inspired by the vision of one man, Dr Sasa.
Growing up here, he all too often saw the deadly consequences of a dearth of healthcare. Too many mothers weren’t surviving childbirth, children were dying from diarrhoea and other preventable diseases were claiming lives.
Driven by a God-given determination, Dr Sasa set about developing a training centre where people could come to study as community health workers.
Peace is when you have physical, spiritual, mental and social wellbeing. That’s what my goal was when I started the health centre - a totally holistic approach to healing.’Dr Sasa
Dr Sasa said, ‘For me, it was about being able to support people spiritually and socially as well as medically. Peace is when you have physical, spiritual, mental and social wellbeing. That’s what my goal was when I started the health centre - a totally holistic approach to healing.’
His passion rubbed off on hundreds of locals who have helped him construct a mini-campus in the jungle, complete with training hall for 500 people, dormitories and offices.
So far the centre has trained more than 300 community health care workers from 150 villages and provided them with basic medication. This is the first time these villages have been able to access any form of healthcare at community level.
Students learn about disease prevention, basic hygiene practices and sanitation and at the end of the course, all students sit exams.
Dr Sasa is getting backing from Tearfund through our Inspired Individuals initiative, which provides a variety of practical and spiritual support to people having a transformative impact in poor communities.
Dr Sasa’s team are now building a new training centre in Chin State and have started teaching 480 new community health workers.