Rice Bowl Mission supports 5 different project areas:
– Development Projects
– Income Generating Projects
– Scholarships and Training
– Mission Support
– Emergency Relief
These 5 areas have been chosen by the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar (PCM) in partnership with the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ). Both church bodies have a committee dedicated to the work of the Rice Bowl Mission. The PCM have a project committee, and the PCANZ have the Myanmar Oversight Group (MOG).
The PCM project committee is made up of members from their 9 synods and specialist areas of PCM (including Women and Youth). Synods apply to this committee for project approval and from there, the PCM project committee forward on their approved projects to MOG who are made of people committed to this partnership in Myanmar and are based in Auckland, New Zealand with a few corresponding members from different parts of the country.
So what do these 5 project areas involve?
Development projects: This area focuses on meeting the basic needs, such as health care, water and education.
Income generating projects: This area looks like empowering the community to stand on their own two feet. We assist in setting up small businesses that are then able to feed back into the community, creating a sustainable and long term income. We’ve supported various projects in this area including book shops, variety stores, tailoring businesses, tiling machines and other tools to help set up small businesses.
Scholarships and training grants: This area provides opportunities for individuals and groups to up-skill in a particular area. They can be used within the local context or for overseas training. We’ve supported grants for nurses, theological college lecturers, youth training in socio-economic and political issues and women in tailoring workshops.
Mission support: This is an area that supports the mission of the PCM. This can be both in the local context and overseas. Often these grants are used to provide resources that will support the community ministries. We’ve supported the production of hymn books and other written resources into local dialects, the theological college of Tahan, and provided motorbikes to pastors so they can travel around rural areas more easily.
Emergency Relief: At times there are disasters that strike and they require immediate response. This area does not require the usual avenues of approval. Instead of going through the approval project (synod – PCM project committee – MOG) the PCM head office and Rice Bowl Mission work directly and quickly with one another to ensure needs are met. Recently, we’ve supported Myanmar in response to the flooding that swept the country, and also the Children’s Home that was in urgent need.
All of these project areas are an important part of the partnership. We ensure that we have a balance in terms of what types of projects we support, the geographical location and the synod area that they are under. We want to make sure we are working together to provide holistic support on the ground in Myanmar.