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.
Jul 16, 2015

Update report

Children studying by candlelight
Children studying by candlelight

Having successfully raised enough funds to buy solar lanterns for the residents' homes at this Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Shan State, Burma, we are still in the process of trying to reach our funding goal. Once we have reached our target, we will then be able to install solar panels for lighting in the camp's school and also to power computers. By doing so, it will have a significant impact on the education of the youth of this community.

If the school has light after dark, then the children can study together and evening classes can be held when necessary. This will enable them to make the most of the educational opportunities that are available to them at this current time. By providing access to computers with the use of solar energy, the students will have access to what many people take for granted. They will be able to learn how to use computer programmes such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as having the ability to use the Internet. By introducing students to the wealth of knowledge available on the Internet, we are sure that their knowledge will be heightened, their horizons expanded and opportunities increased.

Mwe Hkur, an expert in the field of education for Shan youth, had the following to say about the current conditions for the students when we first started this project:

"Students at this school have never learned anything through multimedia in their life due to the lack of electricity. They normally end up studying in dark rooms with low quality textbooks."

We hope, with your help, to change this and to achieve our objective of increasing the educational standards in this remote community.

We sincerely hope you consider helping us reach our funding target by either donating again or by telling your friends and family about this project.

With gratitude,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team

The solar lanterns arriving at the camp
The solar lanterns arriving at the camp

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Jun 26, 2015

June 2015 update - Teacher training, new books and new staff

Children playing at Koung Jor refugee camp
Children playing at Koung Jor refugee camp

As per usual, it's been a busy time for us here at The Branch Foundation (TBF), especially in terms of our education project at the Koung Jor Shan refugee camp. During the past 3 months, we have focused on strengthening the quality of education provided in this community made up of just over 500 residents. The children here are able to attend the local Thai school however teaching standards in this remote area of Thailand are poor and, due to their status as unofficial refugees, the youth have little chance to advance their education beyond basic level. That is the reason why supplementary classes are so important and that's exactly what your donation supports. By providing these classes, students are able to gain entrance into bridging education programmes and thus realise their full potential both in terms of knowledge and employment opportunities for their future.

Since our last report, we have:

  • Provided 45 new grammar books for use in the evening classes
  • Paid the wages of 5 Burmese language teachers, one computer teacher, one English teacher and an Education Coordinator
  • Held another teacher training which combined the new classroom activities they were provided with in the first session with the lesson planning techniques they learnt last time

Due to the previous education coordinator's other commitments, we have now replaced him with two new staff to carry out the duty of making sure education activities run smoothly in the refugee camp. Both of these new staff members have previously benefitted from the supplementary classes at Koung Jor and have just finished their bridging education programmes. They are keen to give back to their community and enable the new generation in the camp to gain access to the educational assistance they once received. We look forward to working alongside them to further develop and strengthen the supplementary education programmes. Tai Leng, the new education coordinator, had the following to say to our supporters:

"We have students both from the camp and from outside the camp attending our evening classes. This gives them the chance to improve their English and Burmese language skills. On behalf of the teachers, community members and students, I would like to thank you very much".

We are sincerely thankful for the positive effect that your donation has made and we hope that you follow us and the residents of Koung Jor on our journey towards providing marginalised youth with the best chance possible for a bright future.

With gratitude,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team

Teachers receive their certificates after training
Teachers receive their certificates after training
Some students with their new grammar books
Some students with their new grammar books
Interactive teacher training session
Interactive teacher training session

Links:

Jun 17, 2015

A little update from TBF HQ

It is with great pleasure that I get to update you about our most recent activities.  Chiang Mai has been intensely hot for months now but slowly there are glimmers of the approaching monsoon. As usual it has been a busy few months, we held our 2015 Annual General Meeting and wrapped the last year up in a tidy bow and then straight away kick started our strategic planning for the year ahead.

We recently facilitated our third teacher training workshop at Koug Jor refugee camp. This time we had 19 teachers participate and for the very first time had four teachers from the nursery school. The training was a great success and all teachers expressed how beneficial the training was for their development as teachers. To check out our photo gallery from the training, please click, HERE.

Other projects we have completed over the past few months include providing educational materials to children in marginalised communities and continued our mini scholarship support for the Education Director of the refugee camp.

We are currently putting together our very first Annual Report, to give you our supporters a more in depth update and overview of our 2014-2015 financial year. Please make sure you are signed up to our NEWSLETTER so you will be one of the first to receive our report once it is complete.

We are currently looking to diversify our funding to further pursue our quest for sustainability, if you are interested to become a regular supporter we appreciate your contribution no matter how big or small.  It all makes a big difference!

We look forward to keeping you updated!

With gratitude,

Iona Proebst and The Branch Foundation Team.

 

 

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