The 'Road to Mandalay' Social Initiative in Myanmar directly organises most of the charitable assistance which it provides to the people of Myanmar. This work has been going on for a number of years. My own reports on this work in the Jan Ford's World Blog only cover the period since my first visit to Myanmar early in 2008. My reports can be found here.
This directly-organised assistance can be divided into two main areas - Medical and Educational. However, where appropriate, the 'Road to Mandalay' Social Initiative co-operates with other organisations. Unfortunately, here we tend to descend into a world of jargon and 'TLAs' (Three Letter Acronyms).
These other organisations are often called 'NGOs' (Non-Governmental Organisations) and taken together are called the 'Third Sector', as opposed to the 'Public Sector' (Government bodies) and the 'Private Sector' (businesses run for profit). Various other terms may be used to describe the 'Third Sector' but such bodies are normally charitable, voluntary and not-for-profit.
As far as help for Orphans and Vulnerable Children ('OVC') is concerned, the United Nations Childrens Fund ('UNICEF') has been involved in this field for many years (see the UNICEF website or the Wikipedia article). Since around 2003, UNICEF has provided funding to International NGOs supporting education, health, nutrition, psychological support, social inclusion programmes and training programmes in Myanmar. This work has promoted Self Help Groups ('SHG'), Management Committees ('MC'), Community Organising Groups ('COG') and People Living with HIV and AIDS initiatives ('PLHA') through local Drop In Centres ('DIC').
However, UNICEF stopped OVC support for Myanmar in April 2011. Local NGOs have managed to continue the work using existing funds or volunteer fund raising initiatives but the new academic year which started 1st June 2012 presented a particular challenge in meeting the demand for enrollment fees, stationery support and school uniforms.
Germany has a Foundation providing help for HIV affected children. In December 2011 a senior member from the Foundation visited Myanmar and Dr. Hla Tun arranged meetings with nine local NGOs involved in taking care of HIV Orphans and Vulnerable Children. As a result, the German Foundation is now supporting orphanages and community-based OVC projects in Yangon and Mon State with local assistance from the 'Road To Mandalay'.
This assistance has comprised visits by Dr. Hla Tun to various organisations on behalf of the German Foundation and other donors, first in Yangon and then in Mon State as outlined below:-
10th April 2012: Donation to the Myanmar Council of Churches, the Phoenix NGO and Kho Ner Yar NGO who are continuing the OVC project in Yangon and supporting around 170 students for the 2012/2013 academic year.
11th April 2012: Donation to Dr. Su Htar of the Thu Kha Yeik Myon Orphanage in Yangon where 78 HIV-positive children are cared for.
19th April 2012: Donation to the NGO in La Mine - Kod Dut, Mon State.
20th April 2012: Donation to the NGO in Maw La Myaing, Mon State.
21st April 2012: Donation to the NGO in Mu Don, Mon State where a Drop In Centre is operated in Kot Kha Pon Village.
21st April 2012: Donation to the Myittar Kyae Mone HIV/AIDS Care Centre in Kyaik Kha Mee Township, Mon State where Sister Martha takes care of 14 orphans, some HIV-infected and helps with nutrition of very poor children. Accommodation is also provided for HIV-infected patients registering for Anti Retroviral Treatment ('ART').
The donations described above will help around 150 OVC students in Yangon and about 400 OVC students in Mon State.