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Myanmar Aid: Two Stories of Action and Hope

24 May 2021

By

Prae Sunantaraks

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2 min read

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the people of Myanmar are suffering doubly under the weight of a fragile governance and social and economic disruption. It is therefore a welcome sign of hope that our AVPN members, Conyat Create and Aung Htun, have each independently launched initiatives that will help bring well-targeted aid to Myanmar. 

Because of modern technology and networks, humanitarian efforts such as these are able to respond quickly and create a focused target relief to communities in dire need. 

Members Supporting Myanmar through AmaAko

Anastacia Howe from Conyat Create has provided support to AmaAko, a messaging and donation campaign launched by concerned philanthropists, to help the people of Myanmar. This initiative has the support of Conyat Create and vetted by Support Myanmar, aims to raise 10,000 USD by 6 June. 

AmaAko is also collating messages through the hashtag #Messages4Myanmar for friends of Myanmar to show their solidarity.

This is a much needed call for humanitarian action in a desperate time. We need more initiatives and relief efforts like AmaAko to help those in need now. 

An Angel Investor with a Heart: Aung Htun

Aung Htun, a Myanmar-focused angel investor, is supporting an initiative started by Naomi Molson, a Hong Kong based philanthropist. Naomi has put together a proposal for funding Myanmar medical training. The proposal aims to fund up to 10 scholarships for Myanmar doctors already working in the public sector to attend the Hong Kong University (HKU) Medical School for a Masters Degree in Public Health

HKU has already agreed to contribute 50% of the fee as a humanitarian subsidy, and one scholarship has already been pledged. This vital aid work is designed to prevent a looming disaster in the healthcare system, by preparing Myanmar doctors for the public health management system. 

Support from the Philanthropy Community

These initiatives are heartening, but such individual efforts are not enough. To scale their impact, we need collective effort from the community. We need the philanthropic community to step up and support these humanitarian efforts to relieve the misery and suffering in Myanmar. 

For AmaAko, donors can either donate or send messages of support for their #Messages4Myanmar campaign.

The scholarship initiative backed by Aung Htun is also currently looking for donors to support the proposal. Potential donors do not need to support a full scholarship; donations of any size are welcomed. To reassure donors about the potential risks, the project is establishing a solid legal structure with a board of Trustees. As the project will likely be a Hong Kong registered charitable trust, Hong Kong donors can also claim tax deductions. 

The next intake of donors is stipulated to start in September 2021, with AVPN working closely with Aung Htun to promote this scholarship programme. Interested donors can reach out to AVPN, or Aung Htun at ah110560@gmail.com, for more information. We will update with more details once this initiative has been formally launched.

Now is the time for the philanthropy community to act and stand in solidarity with the people of Myanmar.

References

A. Environmental Stewardship
To protect the environment, we organize programmes like mangrove nursery and Reforestation, Coastal and River Clean-Up, Community Based Environmental Solid Waste Management, Environmental IEC Campaign and Eco-Academy

B. Food Security and Sustainable Livelihood
To ensure a sustainable livelihood for the community, eco-tourism include Buhatan River Cruise Visitor Center Buhatan River Mangrove Boardwalk are run by the community. Others include Organic Vegetable and Root crops Farming, Vegetable and Root crops Chips and by-products Processing and establishing a Zero waste store.

C. Empowered Communities
To empower the community, we provide product and Agri-Enterprise Development Training, Immersion and Learnings Exchange Program, Earth Warrior Training and Community Based Social Entrepreneurship Training

Author

Prae Sunantaraks

Prae is AVPN?s Mekong Region Director. She works on the development of the social investment ecosystem in the Mekong region covering Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. Her role focuses on maximizing potential benefits for new and existing AVPN members as well as developing and growing the AVPN membership network in the Mekong region. Prae provides strategic advice to members following AVPN?s Connect, Learn, Lead philosophy. She values enthusiasm, conscientiousness, and is a result-driven individual. Prae sees AVPN as pivotal in supporting member engagement in the Mekong countries, keeping members with overlapping interests in communication, and fostering partnerships and alliances that help move capital into the SPO sector for real social impact. Prae has 15 years of experience in corporate communication, HRBP consulting, CSR and partnership development. As a passionate believer in the power of effective communication, Prae has spent much of her career championing causes and social movements such as education empowerment, social equity, health promotion and environmental preservation in ASEAN countries. Before joining AVPN, Prae held such positions as General Manager at Central Retail Corporation, Director of CSR & Community Relations at Laguna Resorts & Hotels PLC, Senior Consultant at Kenan Institute Asia, Corporate Citizenship Manager at Coca-Cola Thailand, and PR Consultant at Hill & Knowlton Strategies. Prae received her Bachelor?s Degree in Communication Arts and Master?s Degree in Public Relations specializing in Communication for Social Development from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. She is a certified CSR practitioner from the Center of Corporate Citizenship, Boston College, and a certified MBTI® practitioner. Prae was born visually impaired with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), although limited in sight, she has a vision that disabilities should not stop people from doing good and living lives full of especially creative insights. Her interests include a love of vegan foods, creating (when time permits) and listening to podcasts, and playing traditional Thai musical instruments with some modern flourishes. She regards voluntarism as a sign of social conscience, and spent nine years volunteering weekly at the Bangkok school for the blind, and now supports the modern Job Guarantee policy as a proper way to socially recognize such public purpose work. Prae is now volunteering regularly at the Elephants World Foundation, a shelter for sick and retired elephants in Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

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