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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Knightsbridge International Relief Mission # 1 to Myanmar

We have just wrapped up our FIRST Mission in to Myanmar during which we have accomplished the following:

Located the local MaMa's Hope Haven Orphanage / Group Home in North Dagon Township a suburb of Yangon, which was established by our very good friend Ms. Rachel Trovi, with whom we have worked for years in the Philippines, and provided them with a large truckload of urgently needed items such as food, bedding etc. as well as some financial support for their continued operation. We currently have our local volunteer staff, Ms Hto and Ms Ada looking for a NEW property where these 25 Children and 4 Adults can move.

The website listed below will give you some information on Mama Rachel's very substantial operations in the Philippines.

Ma' Ma Children's Center of Norway

We established a partnership with Zawgyi Care, a very well run local NGO that has been providing a series of very effective Medical Services and Feeding Programs since three days after Cyclone Nagis devastated the delta region of Myanmar. Each week they have managed to feed between 3,000 and 5,000 people and they are now looking into the possible purchase of small Rotor Tillers at a cost of approximately $ 900.00 each for use by the farmers. If they decide that this is an appropriate program, we will join them in that as well.

We met and agreed to partner with another very small, newly formed group of Australian Expats currently working and living in Yangon who have started a program where they are buying Water Buffalos that will be provided to farmers in the devastated area. We will provide funding as requested when this program has been finalized. Local Water Buffalo, Bullocks and Cattle that can be used for farming are available and can be purchased for anywhere from $ 400.00 - $ 500.00 each with the equipment necessary for working in the rice paddies. They have also started building houses in some of areas where they have been granted access. We will assist them in those efforts as well, IF asked.

We have also agreed to work with a very large local construction company who is about to build a NEW 100 bed civilian hospital in Bogale, one of the hardest hit areas in the path of the Cyclone. They will build the facility and we will assist as much as possible in providing certain items of medical equipment needed to outfit that facility. They have also started to build houses which cost approximately $ 1,000.00 each. We will try to support the construction of as many of these as possible.

We did meet "informally and unofficially" with some Government Representatives and started a dialogue wherein we have been assured that we will be granted permission to return to Myanmar to continue our humanitarian efforts.

In closing, I ask that you not forget the people of Myanmar simply because it is no longer front page news. If you can remember the images that you may have seen of the Tsunami in 2004 you have a very good idea of what it was like for these very simple, gentle people in the Delta when that Cyclone hit. People lost everything...their families, their property, their can give them some of those things back by continuing to support efforts like ours or those of the other countless Local and International NGOs who continue to do their best to help those in need.

Thank you,

Ed Artis-Bangkok, Thailand
Thursday July 10. 2008