Support Community Development in South-East Asia

 
$16,080
$1,920
Raised
Remaining

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.

 

 

Links:

Loi Lum residents
Loi Lum residents

It's been a busy start to the year! Highlights include a teacher training for Refugee Help Refugee for Pakistani asylum seekers and refugees in Bangkok, we hope to continue to build on this partnership with this inspiring community. A few days ago we returned from our second teacher training at Koung Jor refugee camp. The 'Effective Lesson Planning for the Classroom' teacher training was a great success and was attended by Shan, Burmese and English language teachers as well as the community computer teacher. One of the teachers that attended the training had the following to say:

"The most important thing I learnt in the training was how to effectively plan my lessons and how to make my classes more fun!" 

Since the start of the year we have also implemented our solar project at Maw Kwee on the Thai-Burma border, visiting this community and seeing first hand the impact it had on the children in the boarding house was a personal highlight of the last few months. And finally, together we have provided solar lighting for an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Shan State, Burma. All the residents now have solar lanterns to light up their homes, however, we are still raising funds for the solar panels for the community school. If you would like to help us reach our goal please click here. 

Not only do we like to keep you updated on our projects but also on the internal workings of the organisation. Up until now we have maintained a 100% funding model which meant that all money raised from the general public went directly to our projects and money for our operational costs were secured separately. This was possible due to a philanthropist who generously covered our overheads. Due to structural changes within her own business, this support stopped almost 2 years ago. Since that time we have upheld that model, however, I must admit it has been a challenge for us. In order to move forward in a more sustainable manner, The Branch Foundation will now take a small percentage of general donations in order to keep the office lights on and staff appropriately compensated for their hard work and dedication. As always we will be keeping our operational costs low, maintaining full transparency, whilst ensuring we have the necessary resources for the organisation to carry out our projects responsibly and effectively. I believe this is a necessary step to take to ensure a healthy and sustainable future for The Branch Foundation and all our projects. 

Myself and the rest of the TBF team are excited to put this sustainable funding model into action starting April 1st 2015.  We look forward to continuing to work with you to help give marginalized communities a voice and collaboratively working towards self-reliance and local empowerment. Thank you for your ongoing support! 

Warm regards,

Iona Proebst and The Branch Foundation Team.

The solar system for the Maw Kwee boarding house
The solar system for the Maw Kwee boarding house
Maw Kwee students and Iona. TBF
Maw Kwee students and Iona. TBF's director/founder
Koung Jor teacher training
Koung Jor teacher training

Links:

Iona and a community member of Koung Jor
Iona and a community member of Koung Jor

We, at The Branch Foundation (TBF), would like to wish you all a happy new year. 2014 was a very productive year for us, including activities such as:

  • Fostering new partnerships with 2 like-minded organisations
  • Continuing and increasing our educational support to Koung Jor Shan Refugee camp
  • Creating two new solar projects along the Thai-Burma border region
  • Delivering workshops to help refugee/migrant students in Chiang Mai (Thailand) enter into higher education
  • Facilitating an eye clinic at Koung Jor Shan Refugee Camp
  • Providing food assistance for the most vulnerable in refugee communities
  • Raising scholarship funds for a resident of the refugee camp in order for him to study at university

The above is all but just a snapshot of our achievements last year. A lot of effort goes on behind the scenes to enable us to carry out this kind of work; such as advocating and raising funds for our projects, ensuring financial transparency and accountability, and planning ahead for forthcoming opportunities and obstacles.

We have high hopes for the year ahead and there are a few very exciting potential opportunities for TBF to grow in a responsible manner whilst still maintaining our ethos of working hand-in-hand with marginalized communities. We look forward to hopefully updating you about this in our next report.

The support you have provided us has been essential in every facet of our project work, the positive change to people's lives and to the future of the organisation as a whole. We are extremely thankful and will be sure to keep you updated with how your contribution has made a lasting difference.

With sincere gratitude,

Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team

Graduation at soft-skills development workshop
Graduation at soft-skills development workshop
Computer class at Koung Jor Shan refugee camp
Computer class at Koung Jor Shan refugee camp

Links:

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:

The camp headman & Tom discussing renewable energy
The camp headman & Tom discussing renewable energy

Dear friends of The Branch Foundation, 

I hope this report finds you well. 

It has been a very busy few months. The highlights include a new solar project in collaboration with Solbakken organisation, recruited more volunteers, and held a successful and productive Annual General Meeting! We recently visited the Shan Refugee Camp and, as per usual, the headman was working on a new renewable energy invention. His forward thinking and innovative spirit never ceases to surprise me. It is once again the monsoon season here in Thailand so a good time to strategically plan the year a head. 

Our operational costs still remain our most pressing need. We have been spending much time working on different approaches to gain more regular monthly support to ensure the sustainability of the organisation and all of our projects. We are confident that together we can reach our goal and appreciate your support immensely.

If you are not already a regular donor, I do encourage you to consider making your contribution a monthly one. Click HERE for GlobalGiving’s recurring donation option. Monthly contributions enable us to plan in advance and also ensure the continuation of all of our work. Please feel free to share this with any of your friends that might be interested, a collective spirit goes a long way! 

This Wednesday is Bonus Day where all donations will be matched at 50% until matching funds run out. A great opportunity to make your donation go that much further!

With warm regards,

Iona.

A new bio gas cooker
A new bio gas cooker
Young camp resident
Young camp resident

Links:

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Project Leader

Tom Rosen

Project Manager
Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai Thailand

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