We hope this update finds you well. It's been a busy couple of months and we’re excited to update you on what’s been happening for The Branch Foundation and the communities with which we work!
In December, we held a weekend-long teacher training workshop at Koung Jor Camp. We’ve always been very lucky to acquire the best teacher trainers that graciously volunteer their time and skills and this time was no different. This time we had a skilled trainer with over 20 years experience who brought a whole new range of exciting and fun ideas for the local teachers to use in their classes.
At the end of January we facilitated a learning trip to Koung Jor for World Pilgrim from Canada. We have previously facilitated another group from the same organisation who said the visit to the camp was the highlight of their trip to Thailand. World Pilgrim remain eager supporters of both The Branch Foundation and Koung Jor and we were delighted to once again help them have a meaningful, informative and fun stay with our Shan friends at the refugee camp.
Do you remember Sai Oo? For years he was the Education Coordinator and Computer Teacher at Koung Jor and then he went on to study Computer Science at Mai Fah Luang University in Chiang Rai. We previously had a special Global Giving project to help raise funds for his university costs as well as for the stipend for his role at the camp which many of you generously contributed to. Well…. we could not be more excited to tell you that after 4 years and so much dedication and hard work that he has just graduated from university! We could not be more proud of him. He is a shining example of what one determined individual can achieve and an inspiration to the youth in Koung Jor and Burma/Myanmar as a whole. Sai Oo, who happens to also be a long time friend of ours, has also managed to secure himself a managerial role in a computer software company in a nearby city. It feels like yesterday that we sat in a thatch hut just outside the camp enjoying a steaming bowl of Shan noodles whilst listening to his dreams of going to university. In his latest update we could hear just how chuffed he was with what he has achieved and so are we!
Upcoming we have a new exciting education project in Karen state in Burma/Myanmar on the horizon but we’ll save the specific details for our next report. Until then, we will be busy wrapping up the end of this financial year and preparing for this years Annual General Meeting. It’s always a great opportunity to see just how much we have collectively achieved!
With all our gratitude,
The Branch Foundation team.
Before we begin to update you on our recent activities, we would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has donated to this project. The support from generous individuals like yourself enables us to promote sustainable community development in Southeast Asia.
Over the past few months, we've been busy ensuring that the youth at the Koung Jor Shan refugee camp are able to reach their full potential by providing them with new educational resources. Each year we supply all students with their own English textbooks along with materials for the talented and dedicated local teachers. Before we started providing these resources, the children would have to share old grammar books which lacked colour, pictures and activities. Now they are able to learn English in a fun and interactive way which greatly increases their future educational and employment opportunities. This is illustrated by the following quote from an old student at Koung Jor:
“It is very important for us to be able to speak English because when I applied for jobs I was interviewed in English. Fortunately, as I have English skills I was accepted to work in a restaurant in Chiang Mai. The shopkeeper tells me that my English is better than the other people at our shop and I can also communicate with foreigners as well”.
In addition to supplying educational materials, we also build the capacity of the teachers by holding training sessions. These workshops act as an opportunity to equip the teachers with the latest teaching techniques as well providing them with new classroom activities to make learning an engaging experience. Our upcoming teacher training session takes place next week so we'll make sure to update you about it soon.
Lastly, we'd like to wish you all a happy festive season. It's at this time of year we should put aside the commercialism all to often associated with this period to remember the true spirit of giving and what a difference we can make to each other's lives.
With sincere gratitude,
Tom Rosen and The Branch Foundation Team
It is always with great pleasure that we get to update our wonderful supporters with news from The Branch Foundation. Our mission of supporting community development through education, capacity building and renewable energy projects is only possible with the help of generous people from across the globe such as yourself.
Since our last report, we held our Annual General Meeting. This is always a great opportunity to assess the methods we use to achieve the organisation's goals as well as planning ahead for the future. We had some great input from our board of trustees and supporters which makes us feel confident about our long-term success and that our strategic placement of project coordinators in the Southeast Asia region will ensure that marginalised communities continue to receive vital support.
In the coming months, we are planning on providing more English language textbooks to the dedicated teachers and students at Koung Jor Shan refugee camp. We are also in the beginning stages of preparing our next teacher training session there. It is important to us that they have the resources and skills necessary to allow the children and young adults in the community to realise their full potential. Sai Vijit, the eduction coordinator at the camp, had the following to say:
"The evening English classes are a great way for children to have a chance to attend in university when they grow up. Also, parents want to see their children is able to read, write and speak in English."
We look forward to providing you with an update regarding the above in our next report along with more information about the capacity building workshops we plan to carry out before the end of this year. In the meantime, it would be greatly appreciated if you could share information about TBF with your friends and family so that they can see the impact that your donation has allowed us to deliver.
Tom and The Branch Foundation Team