New Dawn relief

by Health and Hope UK
New Dawn relief
New Dawn relief
New Dawn relief
New Dawn relief

Project Report | Apr 3, 2024
Food Banks Project - Providing a sustainable support for Myanmar Refugees

By Tracey Silvermore | Senior Partnerships & Communications Manager

Refugees purchasing food items from the Food Bank
Refugees purchasing food items from the Food Bank

The situation for displaced and refugee Myanmar communities remains extremely difficult, and after 3 years of almost continuous distribution of relief supplies, we are transitioning to a more sustainable model of support. This project is focused on the provision of food to refugee communities, which is the most consistently mentioned need among refugees.

Our goal is to reduce malnutrition among twelve Myanmar refugee communities through the provision of a revolving ‘Food Bank’ which is partly supported by external grant funding, and partly funded by refugees paying a subsidised price for rice and other essential foods.

Overall, our aim is to establish twelve Food Banks in twelve refugee communities in the border areas of Western Myanmar which will provide food for approximately 6,000 people for at least 12 months while continuing to support the most vulnerable families.

A trial of 3 food banks took place last year and has been very successful. Following this success, we have now launched food banks in three more locations. Each Food Bank, serving approximately 500 people, costs approximately $25,000 to operate for a minimum of 12 months. At this point we hope that the Food Bank would be sustaining itself, or very near to it as refugees are more able to pay full local prices. These locally run stores of food provide refugees with basic supplies at a subsidised price, meaning that they are not reliant on handouts and that we can ensure our supplies are stretched as far as possible. We will reduce the subsidy over the coming months.

The main project activities are as follows:

  • Establishing and operating low-cost food banks in 12 refugee communities.
  • Re-stocking food banks with food bank profit, in-kind provision and decreasing levels of grant funding.
  • Distribution of food items to the most vulnerable households.

Initially, grant funding would stock each food bank with sufficient rice, dal and cooking oil to feed the refugee community. A certain percentage would be given to vulnerable households while the remaining amount would be sold to the community at a lower cost than the initial cost price. This would enable refugee households to purchase food items at a price that reflects their current income and encourages self-sufficiency. The resulting profit would then be used to purchase food items for the following month, and grant funding would subsidise the remaining amount required to re-stock the food bank.

Our in-country partners observe that refugee households are continuing to settle over time, and their opportunity to work and be self-sufficient is increasing. In response, the project approach would be to gradually decrease the amount of funding that subsidises the food bank and increase the sale cost of food items over the 12-month period.

Based on a recent food bank trial in 3 refugee communities, it is estimated that food banks would be subsidised with 100% grant funding for 1 month, 60% for the next 2 months and followed by a further 10% reduction every 2 months until no longer subsidised.

It is hoped that the food bank will create a community-sharing platform for those who want to provide in-kind food provision for Myanmar refugee households. The food bank would also loan food items to households from agricultural-based labour as they would be able to replace food bank items following harvest seasons.

1,417 people have accessed the food bank trial so far across 4 target areas for the fourth time.

Refugee Camp Foodbank Story

“My name is Dedan (name changed) and I am serving as one of foodbank management team leaders. The foodbank started on June 2023, and this is now the fourth time distribution of foodbank items. The food items dal, cooking oil and rice which are the most important things in the camp are included in foodbank. 300 people who are living in the refugee camp directly benefited from the foodbank. Foodbank is good for us because a rice bag price is 2,000 INR in the local shop, but it can be purchased at the foodbank for 1,500 INR. And it really helps people like a family who have little income and only earn once a month because we can buy it with the credit system and pay at the end of the month. 

I really thank you for your amazing support, love, and care for the people during difficult times. We always pray that our God will extend His grace, mercy and Bless to you and your family.”

Beneficiary Testimonial

Before the military coup, Zeya (name changed) was a policeman living with his pregnant wife and four children. When Zeya learned that the Government had been overthrown, he refused to continue working as a police officer for the military and knew that he and his family had to leave their home. However, they had to wait for the opportunity to escape from the police office precinct where Zeya was stationed. The situation became critical because the head of the police department was constantly threatening Zeya but they were forced to wait until they could find a way to leave.

Zeya and his family had the opportunity to escape one month later, but it was at night. It was difficult for them to cross the border because his wife was pregnant, but they arrived at a refugee camp at 11pm after travelling for 140 kilometres. They were able to buy food and daily necessities for the family,but they had soon spent all of their money.

“Many NGOs and supporters came to help us, but Health & Hope has been there the longest and has helped us the most. The most important things we need are livelihoods and the food bank. It is difficult to find money because there are no day jobs, but my husband goes to work three times a month,” says Bennu, Zeya’s wife.

 Thank you for taking the time to read this report.

Refugee paying for her food at a Food Bank
Refugee paying for her food at a Food Bank
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Organization Information

Health and Hope UK

Location: London - United Kingdom
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @_healthandhope
Project Leader:
Miles Jarvis
Chorleywood , United Kingdom

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