Dam innovation to change life for students at Loi Tai Leng

13 May 2019

In October 2017, cross-border aid was cut in order to be redirected to the Rohingya suffering persecution in Western Myanmar. This resulted in a severe food shortage and the closure of two dormitories at schools along the border. Mwe, who is responsible for all 6 schools for displaced children along the border, explained to the HART team on their recent visit that the soil around Loi Tai Leng School is infertile and therefore unable to provide adequate farming opportunities and food.

With funding from HART in January 2019, a new dam has been built in the valley below Loi Tai Leng School. Water from the dam has facilitated agricultural development to improve school food security and nutrition awareness for children, as well as to facilitate a fish farm. The farm will produce food for Loi Tai Leng school and most crucially, for its 400 students who board. As food aid was cut, the need for a balanced and nutritious diet for the 700 students at the School has soared since they mostly now live on rice, provided by the Shan State Army.

The dam is located in a jungle clearing below Loi Tai Leng School

Larn Tai, Director of Education for Shan State, showed HART the newly established farm and outlined his main intentions for the future of the dam. Larn Tai hopes that the farm will become an agricultural child-learning centre where people from all over Shan State can go to learn techniques in sustainable agriculture and self-sufficiency. Due to the farm’s proximity to Thailand, Larn Tai plans to invite agricultural specialists as guest speakers to train the local people.

“Every time I come here it makes me happy because we have been waiting for a dam for 10 years. Thank you to HART for making it happen.”  Larn Tai, Director of Education in Shan State


Whilst the cut to food aid was immediate and devastating at the end of 2017, Larn Tai has been extraordinary in his resilience and drive to help combat local food insecurity. Through improving water and food accessibility, Larn Tai’s dam project is now an inspirational example to the other 5 IDP schools along the border about what can be achieved. Through this initiative, Larn Tai is striving for Loi Tai Leng School to grow less dependent on foreign assistance and more innovative in its approach to food security.

The Annual Cost of Supporting a child at Loi Tai Leng:

Food for one child per year – £100

Stationery and textbooks per primary school child – £66

Stationery and textbooks per middle/high school child – £90

Personal hygiene costs per dormitory child per year – £45

If you are interested in supporting a child’s education, email us at!

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