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 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:

Aug 29, 2014

Initial Report - August 2014

One of the younger residents
One of the younger residents

The Branch Foundation and Solbakken would like to thank you for your generous donation towards ensuring that the children at Maw Kwee School have access to safe and reliable lighting. These students, who live in a remote area along the Thai-Burma border, are currently only able to use candles, which not only pose fire risks but are also an expensive and inadequate form of lighting. By installing solar lighting in communal areas, the school children will be able to effectively and safely study at night allowing them to reach their full potential in terms of education.

Lay Taw, the Karen Education Department’s representative of the school, highlights the importance of this project:

“The students can only read in the daylight. At night they cannot do anything for their lessons.  So, electricity is important to study at night. Their parents have not learnt at school but they know that their children need an education.  Maw Kwee is the only place the children have a chance to study. For the students, education is very important for if they have no education they will be like their poor parents and stay in the forest.  Education will provide them with a better life.”

Currently, it is monsoon season in Thailand; therefore the road to the area is barely accessible. The Branch Foundation and Solbakken hope to raise the remaining funds during this period so that once the rains stop we can implement solar lighting for the school. We are halfway to reaching our goal for this project and we sincerely hope that you can help us reach our target. Please tell your friends and family why this project is important to you, or even better still, consider donating again so that you help bring light into these children’s lives.

With gratitude,

The Branch Foundation and Solbakken

The remote border area
The remote border area
Some of the school
Some of the school's students

Links:

Aug 29, 2014

First year - fully funded!

Sai Oo expresses his gratitude
Sai Oo expresses his gratitude

Great news! With your help, we have reached the funding goal necessary to support Sai Oo with his university costs for his first year. When we informed Sai Oo of this achievement, he had the following to say to all those who donated:

"Thank you very much for your support. You change my life to be better and brighter which is what I have been waiting for a long time. It is very valuable support for me. So thanks again and I am very appreciative of your kindness."

After nearly a decade of serving his community at Koung Jor refugee camp, Sai Oo is due to start his first day studying Information Technology at university this Monday. We’re incredibly excited about this and have already penciled in his graduation day in our diaries. This donation page will shortly be taken off-line, however The Branch Foundation will soon start raising funds for his second year of studies. We will be sure to send you another update once Sai Oo has settled into university.

In the meantime, if you would like to help other students like Sai Oo to reach their full potential, please check out our Education Project at Koung Jor.

With sincere gratitude,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team

Links:

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