Projects in The Shan Refugee Camp

Written by Tom Rosen (Project Manager)

The community coming together to repair the boarding house roof

We’ve been very busy since our last newsletter. To begin with, using the funds we’ve received from our project ‘Emergency Relief in South-East Asia’ hosted on the GlobalGiving website, we were able to contribute most of the money needed to rebuild the girl’s boarding house/orphanage in the Shan Refugee Camp. Thank you for making this possible!

The structure was slowly falling apart due to the weather conditions and age. Roof beams were broken, causing safety concerns for the girls and there were also many leaks allowing a lot of water to seep into their sleeping quarters making for unsafe and uncomfortable conditions.



Here’s a quote from one of the grateful boarding house girls:

“We don’t have worry for the rain now and we can sleep sweetly by listening the sound of rain drops onto our new roof. Before we were very worried if it was cloudy and there was thunder. We prayed for it not to rain but it rained anyway and we had to cover our clothes. Sometime we got wet because we had to cross the small lake in our house. Now all the water is gone. Thanks a lot to the donors.”

We would also like to thank all our supporters for allowing us to implement this vital project and for creating a safe environment for the girls at the boarding house and orphanage to socialise, play, work and sleep in.

Income generation through the weaving centre - The finished product!

We’ve also been focused on the Shan Refugee Camp’s Weaving Centre, one of our longest on-going projects for us at The Branch Foundation. We first helped with training and providing weaving looms, now we are nearing the final stages of this important income-generating project. Over the last few months, we have concentrated on designing packaging for the beautifully woven items and finding new markets and retailers to sell the goods from. We have even included personalised stories of the weavers themselves along with the merchandise, so you too can get to know these amazing and inspirational weavers.  In keeping with our mission to promote sustainability and non aid reliance, we hope to complete our involvement in this project and to make a complete handover to community members within the next year.

Shan traditional dress

Finally, we wanted to tell you about Grandpa – a dear friend of The Branch Foundation, someone we really do consider as our grandpa, and a resident of the Shan Refugee Camp. Tragically he recently lost his wife, Grandma. Throughout their loving marriage, due to multiple miscarriages, child mortality and poor health conditions in the jungle they lived in, they were never able to raise a family.  Thus, apart from the community giving him much needed company, he would otherwise have no one else to help support him. We have continued our duty as grandchildren by proving him with a monthly food allowance and have installed a brand new solar panel for the lighting in his home.  We do not usually support individuals, as we normally focus on community support, however there are always special circumstances and our love and respect for Grandpa is one of them.

In the forthcoming months we have a lot of research scheduled in for new projects, and reaching out to new communities. It is an exciting time for The Branch Foundation and we hope to take you along with us on our journey.