This is our 11th annual progress report, detailing our activities for the two orphanages in Minethouk, Burma (Myanmar).
Political developments in Burma
In 1996, the European Union (EU) imposed sanctions against Burma, since the country violated human rights and members of the opposition parties were put in prison. The EU then, at that time, had frozen assets of companies and individuals and banned investments among others in mining and logging. In addition no development cooperation with the Burmese government was possible.
Fortunately the sanctions were suspended by May 15 , 2012 in response to the positive political developments in Burma. This allowed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi after elections to join the parliament and political prisoners were released. Since then the number of tourist visitors increased significantly and the country got flooded with Western businessmen. In addition Burmese are allowed recently to apply ,through the Dutch Fellowship Program (NFP) , for a scholarship for example to follow a course or do a study in the Netherlands.
For our foundation and for the orphanages, this positive development had as yet no other result than that the number of tourists visiting the orphanages increased significantly.
Visit of the Board to the orphanages
In November 2012, the Board visited the orphanages. The themes at the meetings with the staff members were, like every year, in the sign of giving advices, especially about education and about the realization of a number of projects.
Regarding education in 2013, an English and a science teacher will be appointed. This is to prepare the children by a good education and professional guidance for a secondary education and, by extension, a position in society. Furthermore we are trying to establish a partnership between a school in Mandalay and the orphanages. Our aim is to have every year a number of our children follow a professional training at that school.
With respect to the projects we are developing a plan to renovate the two kitchens in a way that we do not have to cook any more on wood fires, but that we can do that for instance by gas. Volunteers have offered to the staff of the orphanages to give advise at this. Furthermore in 2013 an internet connection will be established. The related contracts have been concluded by the Board at their visit. Thanks to a bequest we will acquire a number of computers in 2013.They will all be connected to the Internet and will be used for more didactic applications. Then finally the succession of our orphanage father U Tet Thun, who is 69 years of age, has been discussed. There are a few candidates with whom a conversation will be held early 2013.
Again in 2012, volunteers went to the orphanages to give general support to the staff and to guide projects.
In January, two ladies from the Netherlands (Yvonne and Anemoon) carried out a photo project in which two photographs of each child were taken: a portrait and a picture with a favourite animal or another object. The ladies did bring a printer, photographic paper and a laminator, by which they could give two pictures to each child. This was a great success.
In October, Suzan from Hawaïi continued to expand the vegetable garden near the orphanages ; she had also been there in 2010. She also completed the “green” method to make compost. The children maintain the vegetable garden, and the orphanages now get essentially all the vegetables they need from their own garden.
In December, a volunteer from Spain (Natascha) did come to the orphanages and worked there for four weeks. She gave among other things English and computer lessons. She also ordered bids for the purchase of computers.
The staff members and the children are very pleased with the efforts of the volunteers. In 2013, several volunteers will come again to the orphanages.
The small businesses
Besides the chickens ,we now also have two cows. The milk is sold to a nearby hotel. Because the orphanages are connected to the public grid, the biogas installation has been brought to a stop. We will try to sell this unit. The vegetables from our garden are now being used for our own consumption, and with a further expansion of the garden, vegetables will also be sold at the market.
On the grounds of the girls orphanage a beautiful teahouse is located where tourists are received. Every day, many tourists are visiting the orphanages. We will investigate whether we can develop other activities in this teahouse, so that we can generate more revenues e.g. by selling products and services to the tourists. We will also try to find out if a small anthropological museum could be located in the teahouse.
Activities in the Netherlands
Last year, on October 13, 2012, we appropriately celebrated the foundation’s 10-year existence. Around 120 supporters came to Landsmeer (near Amsterdam) with us to celebrate this anniversary. The highlight was the performance by Minka Nijhuis, author and journalist, who gave us her fascinating vision of the recent developments in Burma.
Furthermore, several anniversaries were celebrated where people were asked not to give presents, but money to support our foundation.
We are also proud to announce that our website was renovated completely in 2012.
Largely thanks to a few very large foreign donations, to a legacy and to the revenues of five anniversaries, we did realize a financial surplus in 2012. This surplus will be used to purchase several computers (including their connection to the Internet) ,to carry out the further renovation of the kitchens and to do the rearrangement of the teahouse in such a way that we can generate additional revenues. Furthermore we will improve hygiene and safety.
We also received a large donation for the study fund. Currently, six children are studying at the university of Taunggyi which is an university town about 40 km away from the orphanages. This is only possible thanks to this fund.
The vacancy that we had on the board, because one of our board members emigrated in 2011, was filled in early 2012. We found Anemoon van Dijk, age 30, willing to serve on our board. She is responsible for our website and the PR activities. Our consultant, Gerrit Jan Muller, has also joined the board. He was affiliated since 2008 as an advisor to our foundation. Our chairman, Maria Overmars, who sat on the board since the beginning, relinquished her chairmanship on January 1, 2013. She remains attached to our foundation as an advisor. We warmly thank Maria for her years of dedication to the foundation.
Maria has been succeeded by Fons Huijerman, age 64. Fons has been working at the Rabobank for nearly 40 years. He holds various managerial positions in several associations in Landsmeer.
We are extremely grateful for all the support we received in 2012 from you and from all donors, small and large, privately and from businesses, from churches, from schools and from the volunteers.
Thank you very much.
Fons Huijerman (chairman) , Robert Schuil (member), Gerrit Jan Muller (member) Anemoon van Dijk (communication), and Simon Goede (secretary and treasurer)
Care for Children Foundation
‘t Plankenpad 28,
1121 JL Landsmeer
IBAN number: NL64 RABO 0383 5730 84