The Branch Foundation

Our Mission: The Branch Foundation aims to work alongside marginalized communities in South-East Asia to support sustainable community development through education, capacity building and renewable energy solutions. Our Vision: Cohesive South-East Asian communities empowered to be self-reliant and able to participate in opportunities available in the wider community around them.
Oct 31, 2014

It's nearly been one year.....

A meeting with Loi Lum
A meeting with Loi Lum's school principle

As this report title suggests, we are coming up to our twelfth month of fundraising in order to supply solar power to the homes and the school of Loi Lum Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp. In the past year we have tested solar lanterns in the community to find out which ones would be most suitable, received feedback from the residents in regard to their most pressing needs and maintained correspondence with the IDP camp. In recent developments, we had the pleasure of actually meeting and speaking face to face to Sai Tom - the school principle of Loi Lum who is helping us implement this project. He walked 6 hours, through dense jungle and up steep mountain slopes, to explain first hand to us the importance of solar lighting in his community.

“The residents have been waiting patiently since they tested out the last solar lanterns you brought us. They saw, from testing the device, what a difference it can make to their daily lives. The children could study after dark and the adults can continue to work on income generating activities without having to rely on expensive, dangerous and unhealthy kerosene lamps and candles”.

During this conversation, I felt the urgency in his voice. The residents of Loi Lum had been waiting approximately 10 months since they tested the solar lantern we provided them, I’m not sure whether I could maintain the same level of patience they have shown. Iona, the Executive Director of The Branch Foundation, and I knew we had to push the fundraising to a new level and become creative in our ideas to ensure that the this community in a remote region of Shan State, Burma, could once again experience the benefits of this clean, cheap and non-toxic renewable form of lighting.

We came up with the idea of ‘dinners by candlelight’ - a fundraising campaign to give our supporters and potential donors an idea of the conditions in which the residents of Loi Lum experience in their daily lives whilst also advocating the importance of the project. Lights are turned off and mobile phones ditched as people host dinners for their friends and family using only candles as lighting. We have received a huge amount of interest in this fundraising idea and have already had dinners held in the UK, USA and Thailand. We hope that the aim of this project inspires you to also host a dinner by candlelight, if so - click HERE for more information regarding this campaign. Please note that we are extending the deadline of this fundraising initiative until the end of November.

Sincerely,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team

Current condition in which the children study
Current condition in which the children study
A
A 'dinner by candlelight' hosted in Thailand

Links:

Oct 14, 2014

Update - October 2014

Two girls practice their Burmese Language skills
Two girls practice their Burmese Language skills

Your donation has continued to help the youth at Koung Jor Shan refugee camp reach their full educational potential. Over the last few months, your contribution has helped pay the wages of the following local staff:

  • 5 Burmese Language teachers
  • 1 Computer teacher
  • 1 English Langauge teacher
  • 1 Education Coordinator

Not only does this improve the education standards within the refugee camp, but it also provides jobs for the residents who have the ability to pass on their skills. This creates a financial incentive for those that have previously benefitted from these supplementary classes, to give back to their community rather than seek low paying jobs in nearby towns/villages which can often leave them vulnerable to exploitation.

In just over a week, we will be conducting a 4 day teacher training session in which all the local teachers within the camp will be given the opportunity to hone their skills and make the classes all that more effective. These sessions are held twice a year and we will be sure to update you on the following week's training in the next report.

I sincerely hope that you can spread the word of your generosity to your friends and family to let them know how you have made a difference to all these children’s lives and how they can achieve the same with just a small donation.

With gratitude,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team

Some of the boys in the camp posing for a picture
Some of the boys in the camp posing for a picture
IT classes are essential in today
IT classes are essential in today's modern world

Links:

Oct 14, 2014

Update - The third quarter of 2014

Some residents of Koung Jor receive their glasses
Some residents of Koung Jor receive their glasses

As per usual, it's been a busy and productive 3 months for us here at The Branch Foundation. Not only have we been supporting our on-going projects, such as education and enterprise development at the Shan refugee camp, but we have also had an array of new developments. The highlights since our last report include:

- Facilitating an eye clinic at Koung Jor refugee camp

With the help of Amigo Vision and the Chiang Mai International Rotary club, we tested the eyesight of nearly 50 residents of the community within two days. Over 20 pairs of glasses were provided and a few cases of cataracts were diagnosed. Now many residents are able to see more clearly which will help the youth with their studies and the adults with income generating activities.

- Preparation and final logistics for soft skills development workshop at Bridging Educational Access to Migrants (BEAM)

These workshops are held periodically throughout the year and provide refugee/migrant students in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with the skills necessary to enter into higher education. The workshops include training in CV writing in English, interview techniques and future planning. The coordination of these sessions takes a lot of planning and we are pleased that everything is set to go at the end of this month.

- Creation of our 'Dinner by Candlelight' campaign

In order to raise funds for our projects, sometimes we must get creative. Therefore, The Branch Foundation team came up with the idea to encourage people to host dinner parties for their family and friends using candles as the only source of light. This was to mimic the conditions in which the residents of two communities for which we are currently raising money to install solar lighting for have to cope with in their daily lives. We are pleased to announce that this campaign has received a lot of interest and we already have dinners planned in the UK, USA, New Zealand, Thailand, Burma and Cambodia. If you are interested in getting involved, please click HERE.

All of our projects and behind the scenes work would not be possible without your support. We understand that operational costs are not the most attractive to fund however they are essential in allowing us to carry out the work we do. Therefore, we would be truly grateful if you would consider turning your one off donation into a monthly recurring donation or telling your friends about how, by supporting the costs of the organisation, you are tacitly supporting each and every one of our projects.

With thanks,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team

Soft skills development training session at BEAM
Soft skills development training session at BEAM
A recent
A recent 'dinner by candlelight' held in Thailand

Links:

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