The Asian Coworkers
After the student uprising of 1988, a number of Chin university students fled to Mizoram. Some because of their education in science and math, were able to become teachers in the Indian government system. Pianga on the left was one of as well as Kianlova on the right. Tluanga, shown with his wife and baby is younger and when we first met him taught math in a private school. All of these three persons select students for high school scholarships, and find candidates for us to interview for university scholarships.
This larger group is from the regional cities and towns in Mizoram State. They work in Champhai, Saiha, Lawngtlai, and Lunglei to find possible candidates for aid to education.
This was taken at a meeting of our Trustee Representatives (TReps) in Bangkok, Thailand. TReps are largely volunteers from the West --America, Australia, Canada-- who interview and select those BREF will award scholarships. These TReps cover the Thai border with Burma, in three areas: Northern Thailand, the Mae Sot area, and Southern Thailand.
This picture shows the Board of Trustees of BREF. Russell Brackett on the far left replaces his father Thomas Brackett as the Managing Director of BREF, and Dianne Becker on the far right replaces him as the Chair of the Board of Trustees. Sally Brackett, third from the left, is secretary to the Board, and Phillip Brackett, third from the right replaces his mother Liz as Treasurer of BREF. Other persons shown are Adger Williams, second from left, who has resigned from the Board, Ted Brackett, seated next to his sister is Director of Communications, and Hoppy Winfield, next to Ted, and Doug Offenhartz, second from right are TReps see below.
Tom and Liz Brackett started on their venture in 1992 when they came to Asia to live with the Karen people in a refugee camp. There they learned about the longest on-going civil war in recent history. The Burmese army had been fighting and abusing the Karen people ever since the initial struggles in 1949. Each year after their first trip, Tom & Liz returned to visit their refugee friends. On April Fool's Day in 1997 with their friend John Novak, Tom & Liz founded the organization which later became known as the Brackett Refugee Education Fund (BREF), to help refugees gain access to education. Since that time we have helped hundreds of young refugee adults obtain a university degree, and thousands attend primary and high school.
The Advisory Group
In the early days before BREF was fully organized, we collected an Advisory Group to help us think through what kind of an organization we wished to be. This shows them at one of their meetings. They are from the left Professor of Religion Coleman Brown and his wife Irene, Father John Madden, Professor of English Literature Deborah Knuth, and consultants Ron and Sue Myers, who advised us on transition.
And, of course, our Donors
We are very grateful for our tremendously loyal and generous donors who not only are spread throughout the country but now include some of the very people we have helped in the past.
Your day is not complete until you have done someone a favor.