Enote 73 – Appeal

October 05, 2011

BREF Appeal

        Long Boat 

This year we wanted to make sure that all of you who are interested in our work were able to receive our appeal letter, so we have included it here.

Dear Friends, 

Liz and I want to tell you about some of the many people, around the world, who have joined with us giving their time, skills, and money to help our programs grow. 

One of our refugee university graduates in Thailand has stayed behind while his family left to resettle in the United States. He did this so that he could continue working with us to deliver support to schools deep inside Burma. Another has watched his family leave India while he remains there to assist us with programs for his Chin people. With enthusiastic cooperation we have organized our Karen friends into a committee to help us select and mentor high school and vocational school students. Several people in this country and one each from Australia, and Thailand spend their time and money to travel with us and help us with our programs.

By supporting the Brackett Refugee Education Fund, you become an important part of a strong, growing community focused around our work. Together we are a vital force for good for the refugees. We hope to continue this work for some time to come.

Now Liz and I are drawn to help educate another group of refugees from Burma. In January, we met with the Rohingya people in Bangladesh for the first time. Are you aware that this small ethnic minority Burmese people may be among the most abused and wronged people on the earth today? We have heard many sad stories of the Rohingyas and have wanted to help them for years, but there seemed to be no way for us to do so. A hostile host country, Bangladesh has denied all but a few, access to food, health care, education, and protection.

In a new approach for us, we sought the help of another agency to visit the Rohingyas in Kutupalong camp and in Cox’s Bazar. We were able to see for ourselves the desperate plight of these poor people. The obvious needs of these people plus the opportunity to join efforts with an agency experienced in this area moved us to commit to this new venture. Working with them will allow us time to become acquainted with the people and their circumstances and to explore other avenues to help them.

We are all well aware that this is a very tough year for us in America. It is an especially difficult time to ask for money, but I ask you to consider that every year is a tough year for refugees, and they desperately need your help. Please consider carefully what you can do to help us, help them.

Thank You.

          Tom & Liz

On another matter, I learned recently that Medicine Sans Frontieres, the French medical NGO is planning to leave Thailand! This is a very serious loss to the refugee community. Things will not be the same when they are gone. Please see the article below.

Girl at Mae Hls

Médecins Sans Frontières to withdraw from Thailand

Friday September 23, 2011 17:29 Kun Chan

Chiang Mai – An important source for medical and health services for Burmese refugees and migrant workers, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), has announced it will withdraw its services in Thailand. No date was given when the announcement was made in Bangkok on Tuesday.

The health group, which had 41 staff in Thailand in 2010, has been working in the country since 1976, serving Burmese and other refugees along the Thai-Burmese border by providing medical assistance and other services to a refugee population which numbers more than 130,000 people.

“MSF faces an increased tension on its resources due to the importance of the emergency interventions in the Operational Centre Brussels portfolio, such as the Arab springs in Libya, Syria and the crisis in the Horn of Africa, which are forcing MSF to prioritize its interventions,” said a letter signed by Mr. Denis Penoy, the head of mission of MSF-Belgium-Thailand, dated September 7.

When MSF withdraws, Burmese refugees and others living along the Thai-Burmese border will encounter health difficulties, said the Mon National Health Committee (MNHC).

“In our Mon area, with support by the MSF, we have eradicated malaria among more than 10,000 IDPs (Internally displaced persons) and more than 10,000 people. If MSF withdraws from Thailand, our people will suffer many consequences,” MNHC official Naing Chay Mon said.

The MSF branch office in Chedi Sam Ong, adjacent to Three Pagoda Pass, was closed in late June by order of the  Thai authorities, affecting about 5,000 Burmese migrant workers in the area.

MSF also provides medical assistance to refugees along the Cambodia-Laos border, and to Hmong refugees in Phetchabun Province. Since 1999, it provided health services and helped to eradicate tuberculosis and malaria among Burmese migrant workers in Tak Province and refugees in Mae La camp.

From 2005 until 2009, it opened clinics serving thousands of Burmese Tsunami-victims from Phang Nga Province in southern Thailand and appointed Burmese health workers to staff its health centres. It has also run a health service programme for Burmese workers in Samat Sakhon Province in Thailand and people living around Three Pagoda Pass on the Thai-Burmese border. 

Among its projects in Thailand are the “Kayah backpackers,” based in Mae Hong Son, in the north of Thailand.

MSF staff in Thailand train “backpackers” from Burma so they could provide basic healthcare. The backpackers then traveled back across the border and worked as mobile medical teams, visiting people living in remote villages in Kayah State in eastern Burma. 

MSF closed its malaria project in New Mon State at the end of June. Staff working from a base on the Thai side of the border had been supporting malaria control initiatives in Burma, distributing mosquito nets, training community health workers and diagnosing and treating patients. 

In the Three Pagoda Pass area, MSF served unregistered migrant workers who were excluded from healthcare, and undocumented migrants in need of care who fear that a visit to a health centre may result in deportation. 

In Samut Sakhon, an industrial zone where thousands of undocumented migrants live and work, MSF staff operated a clinic that diagnosed and treated 170 people for cholera after an outbreak at the end of 2010.

Along with the previous departure of ZOA, a dutch NGO that had worked for education in the camps, this will cause a significant problem for the refugee people. All the more reason why our graduates in nursing and health care will be useful to their people.

Activities:

  • Spent most of the summer researching and writing proposals for support.
  • Worked with Jim Leach and Katheryne Gall on brochure for annual campaign.
  • Week of Sept. 18 spent endorsing appeal letters.
  • Proposals sent to VCARE Charitable Foundation, Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation, Brackett Family Foundation, and soon to B.K.Kee Foundation.

I hope this enote finds you in good cheer and good health, and that you are happily engaged in your fondest pursuits.

My Best Wishes to all of you,

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

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