It's been a while since I've last got in touch with you, and I wanted to tell you about what has been going on with BREF since Liz and I stepped aside from our leadership of BREF to allow our Trustees, many of them our sons and daughter, to take over.
As you may recall from my last email, Russ has taken over my role as executive director, and he and Mark Sommer are in Mae Sot, Thailand as I write. They are just starting out on a week long trip to review all of our projects in Thailand. Russ has decided to communicate with interested people through facebook, and he has already posted information from his stay in Bangkok. If you are interested in Mark's and Russ' trip, try this. You should find in his first post a picture of Myint Wei, the founder of DEARBurma. The last I heard they were in Mae Sot and after having visited Dr. Cynthia and attended an alumni party, which I am told was a great success.
Just the other day, we received a $100 donation from the "Current Affairs" students at the Hamilton high school. Their teacher, and a strong supporter of BREF, sent us a card in explanation. I quote:
" Dear Liz + Tom + BREF, This donation is the result of a project that my Current Affairs students did before the holidays. We had looked at the 'Three Cups of Tea', Central Asia Institute scandal, and discussed the problem of effective charitable giving. Students then researched specific charities both big and small, all Global in their focus. Geordie Geier proposed BREF and did an excellent presentation! >After the presentations, the class voted to raise funds for BREF through a bake sale-- hence this check! It was an interesting exercise that helped the students to see differences between charities-- the degree to which donations go directly to the program etc."
Needless to say we were doubly pleased with an affirmation of our integrity and a substantial contribution from the students of our local school.
Finally I want to tell you that I am writing a book on Liz's and my experiences working with BREF for the last two decades, and you can help me. First I have chosen for a title "SMALL-TIME, HANDS-ON FOREIGN AID: ONE ELDERLY COUPLE'S ATTEMPT TO SAVE THE WORLD". Some people have thought that 'ELDERLY' demeans our work, and should be removed. In my view the whole title is intended to be somewhat 'tongue-in-cheek' and a little self-deprecating. Second the book will have many pictures, but I must choose one or more for the cover. I list 6 pictures. Please help me by emailing me back at firstname.lastname@example.org and saying either YES, ELDERLY is fine, or NO remove ELDERLY, and also returning your choice of the best picture simply by choosing ONE through SIX.