Community Projects

Gyaw Gyaw is based in a village named Noh Bo. It`s around 300 – 350 houses on the banks of Moei river, the border between Thailand and Burma. The inhabitants are mainly Karen Migrants, but there`s Thai military controlling the village, it`s a Thai school, and a small health station based here as well. As part of the community, it`s our duty to contribute to the fellowship, and since construction is our field, we feel a special responsibility for this matter.

Through the years we have conducted a great variety of minor projects for the community.

Here are some of them:

Toilet for community building

The community building “Sala” is used for monthly village meetings, elections, weekly marked place, information, and sometimes visitors sleep here. The old toilet had been naturally demolished, and the village leader asked Gyaw Gyaw for a new.

Some of the timber from the old toilet were possible to reuse, so we made half wall concrete for better water handeling and half wall timber for better light and air conditions. The old timber were also smoothened and reused in the roof construction. The roof it self is steel plates from the local store.

Toilet designed and built by Gyaw Gyaw 2013

Team: Line Ramstad (projectmanager), Phillipa, Peter, Pah Me, Oo Klo, See Da Pah, Saw Dee, Ta Po Kwa.

2 weeks/38 845 THB

Photo: Line Ramstad

Fence around fishpond

Some years ago a visitor left an attempt of a fishpond on the property of the Church in Noh Bo. This property also holds a primary school with approximately 80 children. The fishpond was never completed, but stands out as a big concrete crater on the schoolyard with a depth of 6-8 meter straight down to a concrete floor with iron reinforcement standing out as spears. In agreement with the church we secured it with a fence.  A timber framed fence is fastened to the concrete surface with iron shoes and covered with an iron net, finalized with a timber rail on top.

Fence designed and built by Gyaw Gyaw 2012

Team: Line Ramstad (projectmanager), Phillipa, Pah Me, See Da Pah, Ta Po Kwa.

2 weeks/88 683 THB

Photo: Line Ramstad

Wells in Noh Bo

Part of our village has no water connection. The inhabitants are therefor forced to carry all their water from the well. Some of the wells are however old, and with a lack of maintenance in combination with the tropical climate that provide good conditions for organic waste in the water, the quality of the available water is poor. We were asked to make new wells and decided to add a roof and a concrete slab around as well to make the whole area cleaner and more suited for it`s purposed use.

Well designed and built by Gyaw Gyaw 2011

Team: Line Ramstad (projectmanager), Phillipa, Peter, Pah Me, Oo Klo, See Da Pah, Saw Dee, Ta Po Kwa, Eh Thoo, Sunday, Pah No.

2 weeks/28 362THB

Photo: Line Ramstad

Water system in Noh Bo

In the mountain behind the village it´s a water storage. The water comes from a natural source and is led to the storage through pipes. From the storage water is channeled to the nearby houses and the village.

The pipes have not been maintenance for a while and we took the job and the cost of digging a new trench and replacing the pipes from the watercourse to the storage for improved water access for the village.

Water system designed and built by Gyaw Gyaw 2012

Team: Line Ramstad (projectmanager), Phillipa, Pah Me, See Da Pah, Saw Dee, Ta Po Kwa, Paw Eh Wah.

2 weeks/41 006 THB

Photo: Line Ramstad

Improvements of walls, Academy School.

A classroom after the gap-year students had been visiting and replaced the timber walls with concrete bricks. 
Same classroom after it`s redesigned by Gyaw Gyaw. Windows let air and light inside and the walls are secured so they do not fall down and are also smoothened for better maintenance and a lighter impression. 
Facade after Gyaw Gyaw`s redesign.
The eagerness to “help the poor” that is presented through various volunteerism and gap year programs, can often be problematic. In this particular case it is Rustic Pathways and their village studies who has caused the problems.

One of our favourite quotes is: If you are no a carpenter at home, a plane trip will not make you one! Magically this did not count for Rustic Pathways. A dozen students were replacing the schools timber walls with concrete bricks in four (!) days, leaving unsecured, hot and dark classrooms behind.

That they had left an unfinished volleyball ground and a toilet behind at their previous visits also did not stop the school from welcoming them back for a new project, so the school should also take it´s share in this case.

A half finished volleyball field is just annoying. Dark and hot classrooms with unsecured walls are dangerous, both for the security and the students long term health.

We used way too much time, concrete and money to make windows, and straighten and smoothen and securing the walls to restore a liveable learning environment.

And, we made Rustic Pathways a report afterwards. They did not bother to contact us, but showed up at school one day and we had an interesting meeting with them. They admitted that it might had been a bit hazardous, but the nature of their program was for their western students to help the locals, so not to get to know them I guess.

The did not want to cover any of our costs for the 9 week cleanup job we had done after they left, but they did finally leave some money for the school to finish up the toilet and the volleyball field.

One thing is the programs that facilitate these “aid-trips”, but the parents also have a responsibility. If your children want to go on one of these trips, please think about it, what is in the other end? Do they necessary need to construct or teach, or, can they just be youth meeting other youth on an equal level?

Redesigned, strengthened and finished by Gyaw Gyaw 2012

Team: Line Ramstad (projectmanager), Phillipa, Peter, Pah Me, See Da Pah, Saw Dee, Ta Po Kwa, Paw Eh Wah.

9 weeks/63 676 THB

Photo: Line Ramstad

Dining Room for the Monastery in Noh Bo

In Noh Bo there are two churches and a monastery. They all have their position and are important factors in the village administration. For us it has been a conscious choice and important to work with them all, to not connect to closely to one, but to keep the balance and contribute to the best for the village as a whole.

Since we have made a school building for the local school run by one of the churches, we were happy to build an dining room for the monastery as well. The process was through the village leader who at that point did not want any influence in design or choice of materials. He has later understood more of our work and have become more supportive of our philosophy. 

Dining room for the monastery in Noh Bo built by Gyaw Gyaw 2010

Team: Line Ramstad (projectmanager), Peter, Phillipa, Pah Me, See Da Pah, Saw Dee, Ta Po Kwa, Ee Po Pah, Sunday, Paw Eh Wah.

8 weeks/383 020 THB

Photo: Line Ramstad

New Classrooms for Noh Bo Primary School

Primary School in Noh Bo is run by one of the churches. It is the only Karen school in the village, and the only place who teach Karen language and culture to their students.

Together with another church, and also the Buddhist Monastery, this church is one of the important institutions in Noh Bo. It has been a conscious choice for us to work with them all. We do not want to be associated with one of them, but to be accepted by all. 

The school has been built in more phases. We started off with the base with bamboo walls, and replaced them with adobe walls after the village was more comfortable with it.  After 5 years of use, we gave the building a new coating layer.

Designed and built by Gyaw Gyaw 2010/2011

Team: Line Ramstad (projectmanager), Phillipa, Peter, Pah Me, See Da Pah, Koe Taw, Sunday, Eh Taw, Saw Dee, Ta Po Kwa, Ee Poe Pah, Paw Eh Wah.

2010: 6 weeks/119003 THB
2011: 5 weeks/29 806 THB

Photo: Line Ramstad

Other projects