Enote 58 – A Gift to Karenni

December 31, 2009

A Gift to the Karenni Refugees:

As I write to you on this fifth day of Christmas, it is very cold here in Hamilton. The wind has been blowing fiercely all day and the temperature did not get above 13 degrees. I remember how beautiful Thailand is this time of year, and I am eager to get back. The count down has started and we leave on January 10.

Should anyone ask you what kind of work we, with your support, actually do for refugee people, tell them the story of Jollsy Bani.

Several years ago BREF gave a scholarship to Jollsy Bani, to complete her education in Bangkok. After a number of years working in Chiang Mai, Jollsy returned to her Karenni community living in refugee camps and the surrounding area near Mae Hong Son. She is now working for her people with the International Rescue Committee, a large NGO with programs all over the world.

In a recent email she wrote:


I am actually very happy being back in the Karenni community and I find myself that I am one of the very important people which I did not think of it before. My work and the program really get benefit from me for I know the people here and can communicate with them in their local language and with all the skills and knowledge I had. I try my best for helping our people in the Karenni refugee camp with all the best I can. I do not mean that my interest is only working/helping the specific Karenni people but for all people in Burma. My boss is very happy for having me at the GBV [Gender Based Violence] program too. All in all, I would like to thank you for supporting me to get to the present situation and have hope for the future. I thank you God for sending me the Brackett Foundation to have education opportunity and to the other people from Burma.

I like to think of it as a Christmas gift from you to them.


A new graduate, our first architecture student:

We sent Sa Shine to Assumption University, ABAC, in Bangkok in 2005, and he has just finished his work and will graduate this January. His most recent email says:

Merry Christmas! How are you doing? I hope that you are in good health and happy for everything that you are doing. It has been 5 years and 8 Months since I have got the first reply from you that I have received the scholarship from Brackett Foundation to study Architecture program at Assumption University. I successfully finish my final thesis with grade A in March 2009 with the title of " Re-defining the culture of Bamboo in Mae La Refugee Camp". I am going to attend the commencement on 23 January 2009. If you are in Bangkok on that day, you are invited to join our graduate ceremony. I will send you the picture of my graduation. Thank you so much for your contribution and hard working for us. You have traveled a long journey and even do not realized how much sweat have dropped. I appreciate everything you have done for us. Please, pass my warm regard to all members of our Brackett family. May God bless you all.

Unfortunately we will return from India on January 24, and so will miss his graduation ceremony, but we can still pass along his warm regards to all of you who have contributed to this bright young architect. We have reported in a past enote on Sa Shine's winning of an award for one of his architecture projects. If you are interested look here.

Latest on Fund Raising:

Enough of our funds have been received so that we know approximately how well we will do this year, and, in a word, our donations have exceeded our most optimistic expectations. One foundation who supported us last year said they were expecting to cut funds about 25% this year. But in fact, after reviewing our work, decided to support our full request. So far this year we have received or been pledged $250,000. Most of these funds, about 70%, come from individual donors like yourself. What can we say, except a deep, heart-felt thank you for your confidence in our work? With this kind of support we press on with renewed vigor to help our refugee friends.

And the Crisis in Burma Continues:

  • Bangaladesh to send home thousand of refugees.
  • Michigan couple adopts Karen refugees.
  • More refugees expected when DKBA becomes border guard.
  • Funding cuts threaten Dr. Cynthia's clinic.
  • Thai refugee camps face a tough new year.
  • UN committee condems Burma's rights violations.
  • Rohgyna refugees face harsh treatment wherever they go.

All of these articles are available and more at http://www.brackettfund.org/articles.htm. just a click away. Give it a try. 


  • Planning, and organizing our next trip.
  • Sending our newsletter. Give us your post address if you would like a copy.
  • Finishing our funding of scholarship winners.

When we return in April, we would very much like to visit your community and give a talk on our recent work. You would help us a lot if you could organize a visit. Also your recommendation in Great Non-Profits can be of great help to us. Please go there --click onhttp://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/profile2/brackett-refugee-education-fund1 -- and tell them what you think.

We wish you a very happy holiday season, and a healthy and prosporous new year.


Your day is not finished until you've done someone a favor.