ARI Nickname: Thet Paing
Pwo Karen Baptist Conference, Myanmar Baptist Convention, MBC
Project coordinator / Church and community mobilization program
“It is sure that I was born in rural community and my family are earning with planting paddy field. I feel honor that I came from the farmer family because farmers are the main supporters of food resources in our country.”
Born into a family of poor but honorable farmers, Thet doesn’t just understand the struggles of the people he serves: he has lived them. Now a coordinator for the Pwo Karin Baptist Conference, his goal is to foster a social environment in which his community can prosper. To accomplish this, Thet wants to introduce appropriate technologies (modern equipment that is suited to the region), encourage self-reliance, and create fair marketplace relationships. He understands, however, that outside assistance alone is never a lasting solution to poverty. In the projects Thet has coordinated (which include the establishment of rice banks and piggeries), he has worked to build upon the traditional knowledge they already possess.
Thet has a definite plan in place for his time at ARI. Specifically, he is interested in learning more about the financial aspect of organic agriculture, as he believes micro finance will be instrumental in the continued sustainable development of his community. Thet is also eager to discuss the problems facing the Pwo Karen people with his fellow participants, so that he might gain some new perspective on the issues. Upon his return to Myanmar, Thet wants to continue to implement projects that benefit the rural people with an efficiency derived from ARI’s leadership training.
Founded in 1813 by American missionaries, The Myanmar Baptist Convention is the largest Christian denomination in Myanmar, with over 5,000 churches across all 14 states. Thet serves the Pwo Karen Conference division of the MBC as a staff member of their Christain Socal Service and Development Department, which is made up of farmers descended from the ethnic groups of Pwo Karen, Burmese, Chin, and more. This conference works to promote holistic development among these peoples with projects like the Eden Scale Up Program (of which Thet is a coordinator), which works to foster a sense of self-reliance in the community.