Dear donor and interested party, Landsmeer, January 2020.
This is the eighteenth progress report since the establishment of our Care for Children Foundation in 2002. The report will address developments in Burma (Myanmar), changes in governance, and the activities in 2019 for the boys’ and girls’ orphanage in Minethouk, Burma.
Developments in Burma
In 2019, news about Burma was mainly dominated by the complaint that the Gambia had filed against Burma with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. The Gambia asked the judges to confirm that Burma is committing genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority and requested interim measures to protect the threatened population and to allow the safe return of the 700,000 refugees from Bangladesh. The leader of the Burma government, Aung San Suu Kyi, made an appearance at the ICJ. This clearly indicates that the government of Burma takes the case brought forward by the Gambian government very seriously. The actual procedure will follow later and may take years.
The United States (US) has imposed sanctions on four military leaders from Burma following army attacks on the Rohingya. It is the first time that the US has taken such actions against the Burmese military.
Meanwhile, steps have been taken to improve education in Burma. UNICEF is working closely with the government to improve access to and quality of education. Their first step is to focus on nursery education. In 2019, the European Union (EU) and the Government of Burma signed an agreement for a € 221 million grant for secondary education reforms. Naturally, however, it will take many years before Burmese education is at the level of the Western world.
Economic growth in the country is still very high (> 6%) and is among the highest in the world. The inflation rate in 2019 was 8%.
In March, the orphanage father managed to find a suitable successor (Mi Mi Aung) for Sue (who left on June 2017). Unfortunately, Mi Mi left the orphanages again in December, due to her marriage. Nilar, who is responsible for the girls’ orphanage, is now temporarily also responsible for the boys’ orphanage. She is supported by several volunteers from the region who want to gain work experience or are awaiting further study.
At the end of 2019, 60 girls and 25 boys were living in our orphanages; a total of 85 children.
In 2018, only two out of eight children passed the High School. In view of this poor result, the orphanage father hired two temporary teachers in 2019 to give extra lessons to the children in the highest class of the High School. In that year, ten children took their final exams for the High School, four of whom passed. Although this result is better than the previous year (40% passed in 2019, 25% in 2018), the orphanage father is not yet satisfied. A reason to increase the number of temporary teachers from two to three. The national graduation rate is around 33%.
In 2019, five additional toilets for the boys were installed, which are currently connected to the existing sewerage and water supply in the room. Additional washbasins have also been installed.
The orphanages are not connected to a water supply network and currently use pumped-up groundwater. Given that there is a regular shortage of water in the summer months, two new high-quality sources with a depth of around 90 metres have been drilled. The water is stored in a large water tank.
In April, nurses from France (Stéfani and her friend Rudy) checked and supplemented all medicine. In addition, they supported Nilar in her daily activities. The volunteers make a valuable contribution to the lives of our children and staff members.
Plans for 2020
– All blankets, pillows, sheets and mosquito nets—both from the boys’ and girls’ orphanages—are due for replacement.
– Installing a roof above the water tanks and toilets (boys) and renovating the ceiling of the boys’ orphanage.
– Purchasing two large electric rice cookers plus adapting the necessary technical connections for this. The rice is currently being cooked on wood-fired ovens.
The total costs of these plans are estimated at around € 4,300.
We are happy to inform you that our foundation has managed to find new board members. The new board will consist of three people. All three bring considerable experience in running a foundation, particularly with regard to supporting underprivileged (orphan) children and young people living in developing countries, especially Burma.
The new board members are:
Lucas Harms chairman
Nico Schoenmakers secretary
Camiel van der Heiden treasurer.
The new board will take over all of the current board’s tasks in January 2020.
Why CfC selected these Board Members
1. All three have experience in guiding and coaching an orphanage in Burma and have respect for Burmese culture and traditions.
2. They provide our children the opportunity for further education after the High School.
Re 1. The new board members of CfC are also board members of the World Child Care Foundation (WCC). WCC has been active at the Phaung Daw Oo Monastic Affiliated High School (PDO) in the town of Mandalay since 2009 (also see www.worldchildcare.org). The PDO High School is the largest Buddhist monastery school in Burma, an innovation centre for educational innovation, and the only monastery school in the country that works with foreign NGOs (non governmental organisations).
At this school, 8,500 children from poor families receive free education every day, from kindergarten to High School. There is no government involvement at the school. On the school grounds, WCC takes care of 400 children and young people living in the residential group The Golden House. The residential group consists of three girls’ houses and one boys’ house.
Re 2. Our young people who want to continue their studies after their High School education are given the opportunity to participate in various professional training courses and the Bridging Programme (to learn to speak English well) in Mandalay. They can also go to part-time university in the city. The WCC Foundation will provide guidance, coaching, and accommodation in the residential group The Golden House.
Independence of the two Foundations
Both CfC and WCC retain their own identity and independence, including their own policy, results, and donors. Where possible, the aim is for the two organisations to collaborate. We have already observed that coaching and educating the children after the High School is a good addition to what the CfC orphanages offer.
The children and staff of the orphanages are extremely grateful for all the support that the foundation received in 2019 from you and all donors—both small and large, private and through charity funds, from churches and from volunteers. This support will continue to be essential for CfC in the future.
After more than seventeen years, this will be my final progress report. Thank you very much for all the support I have received from you all. Without this support I would not have been able to fulfil my function as treasurer/secretary and as a supervisor of volunteers. The foundation simply wouldn’t exist without you.
The Care for Children Foundation wishes Lucas, Nico, and Camiel lots of good luck. With great pride and confidence, the foundation transfers the ‘legacy’ of Cor Visser to the new board members.