Friday, June 20, 2008

Project Enlighten Raises over US$14,000 For Burmese Cyclone Victims!

The world’s focus may be elsewhere, but the situation inside Burma stills remains dire with over one million people in desperate need of aid. That said, I do want to extend our heartfelt thanks to all of those who have contributed to ‘Project Enlighten’s Burma Cyclone Emergency Relief Immediate Action Plan’, .
The over US$14,000 that has been raised so far has gone a long way in much-needed aid that was distributed to cyclone-affected villages in Dedaye Township, Twanytay Township, Hlaing Tharyar Township, Myaung Mya Township, and Laputta Township.

Just to give you an idea of how far this money goes towards providing direct relief aid, here are some figures that will certainly give you something to feel good about: With $12,000, aid was distributed directly to 13,622 victims – a total of 6049 families! Items included were clothing, food, medicine, plastic covers for shelter, family tents, and two large pumps and engines to clean village wells. During the month I was in Mae Sot, ‘Project Enlighten’ along with two other western organizations, contributed to three shipments of aid into Burma that brought emergency relief to over 40,000 victims!

I spent the month working closely with Stanley Akzeya, the director of ABITSU, (All Burma IT Students Union), the Burmese Human Rights Organization on the Thai-Burma Border, that is effectively using Burmese volunteers to take the emergency aid into Burma’s cyclone-devastated delta region. Regularly updated details and photos of the relief efforts can be found by visiting my blog site at .

Working together with the Burmese to help the cyclone victims inside Burma has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. I shared times of sorrow with them as we viewed the photos of many left dead across the delta region, but there were moments of great joy viewing the photo-documentation of victims young and old smiling as they received the much-needed aid.

I am now back at home in Gravenhurst, but by no means am finished with raising funds for relief efforts into Burma. I have over 600 photos from the cyclone devastation and the relief efforts inside Burma, which I am presently putting into a PowerPoint presentation. Any group wishing a Presentation can contact me at 687-8538, or I will also be continuing fundraising efforts and presentations for the “Muskoka School” Project in Northern Cambodia and 'Project Enlighten - Burma' the scholarship program for Burmese refugee students.

Cyclone Nargis, the world’s most deadly disaster since the 2004 tsunami, is officially thought to have left 134,000 dead or missing and 2.4 million destitute, of which only 49% have received any international aid.

Not much media attention has been recently given to the current situation inside Burma, partially due to the fact that several foreign journalists, including CNN and Time reporters have been deported in the past few weeks and others have been refused visas (Reporters Without Borders). Two reputable sources with constant updated information are the ABITSU website and the Irrawaddy Magazine .

There are two blogs that I would like to draw your attention to. You'll find them listed in my new Links List at the bottom of this page. Annie Kwan of the UK has a fundraising project on the go and she's moving fast!- she's walking 'Miles For Mankind' and raising funds for 'Project Enlighten'. You can track her voyage on her Site, and help her reach her goal by making a donation - I'm proud of you Annie!

A couple of years ago I shared in the wonderful experience of watching Aki Ra's kids view the debut of the new film about them! - 'Aki Ra's Boys' by Lianain Films. Since that first viewing this documentary has won quite a few awards. Lynn and James are documentary folmakers based in Asia. Lynn was kind enough to recently interview me for her blog site - while she was on localtion in Nepal!

Great People doing Great Things!

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