About Sharing Merits

Sharing Merits has no office or employees, but was established by an individual to give him a platform to share the projects that he directs each year with his donors. Sharing Merits' founder is a retired art teacher and artist who travels to Myanmar every year because he loves the country, its culture and its people.

David Jaap van Leeuwen, Founder

David Jaap van LeeuwenDavid first went to Myanmar, then known as Burma, in 1985 when tourists could only get a seven-day visa. Burma cast its magical spell on him and he never forgot how the experience made him feel.

He returned in 1995, and again in 1996 as a tourist. In 1997, he went back to Myanmar with a business visa to have woodcarvings made of Myanmar designs. He made rubber molds of the woodcarvings and sold concrete copies in the town of Bolinas California where he lives.  He loved the mold making process and the beautiful art that he was reproducing. David returned to Myanmar again in 1998 to have more woodcarvings made for the purpose of making rubber molds and copies in concrete.

In 1999, David went to Myanmar to teach rubber mold making and concrete casting to students at a Myanmar Buddhist monastery school. He brought five gallons of rubber latex with him on the plane, and he also brought a video camera with him that he used to document that year. Teaching mold making in Myanmar was so satisfying and rewarding that he was looking forward to doing it again. He had discovered something that gave his life a greater purpose.

Members of his community saw the video he had made of his teaching rubber mold making to Myanmar students, and donations came in that made it possible for him to return to Myanmar again in the year 2000. He taught mold making in two Buddhist Monastery schools that year, and was also able to fund humanitarian projects for the first time too.

David found that he was able to fund humanitarian projects successfully by collaborating with highly respected Myanmar Buddhist monks. As a result of this partnership, many projects that have helped thousands of people have been funded every year since 2000, because of this collaboration.

David has been teaching rubber mold making in Myanmar Buddhist monasteries every year in a row since 1999, and has also been directing donations to fund humanitarian projects every year since the year 2000.

Visit DavidJaap.com to learn more about David's work.

Reporting and Documenting

Sharing Merits believes that reporting and documenting the projects that are funded each year is important. Annual video and written reports are sent to each donor as a part of the Sharing Merits process. Videos bring the viewers to the project sites, and to the people who have been helped. Updated annual information regarding the projects will be posted on this website for anyone to read. 

Myanmar Project Partners

David with Myanmar Friends

David's Concrete Designs in Bolinas, CA

Gateway and Metal Sculptures in Bolinas, CA

Metal Sculpture

Metal Sculptures

About Humanitarian Projects in Myanmar

Projects & Galleries