Written by Tom Rosen – Project Manager

When people used to ask me to describe what The Branch Foundation does, our tagline of ‘supporting sustainable community development’ immediately escaped from my mouth. This invariably led to the inevitable question—what exactly is sustainable development? I proceeded to tell people our focus areas of welfare/poverty relief, education and sustainable community development. Again, the question of sustainability arose. Obviously, although clear in our minds, this meant that our three main focus areas were slightly ambiguous. This realisation prompted us to revisit our areas of focus, our mission, and vision statements and revise them. Every TBF member was involved in the changes, from people in managerial positions to our volunteers.

We felt that welfare/poverty relief no longer sat within the realms of sustainability; therefore we plan to phase out certain relief-based projects over the forthcoming year. We intend to do this in partnership with the local communities, creating income-generating projects to fill the gap.

We want to stay true to our tagline of ‘supporting sustainable community development in South-East Asia’. With that in mind, The Branch Foundation’s new focus areas are:

  • Education – such as enabling trafficked and exploited Cambodian girls to attend school
  • Enterprise Development – for example, our help with the weaving centres and mushroom farming at Koung Jor Shan refugee Camp
  • Renewable Energy Solutions – our solar lighting project at The Shan Refugee Camp is a great case study

We feel that these amendments not only describe our activities more accurately, but also give a clearer explanation of how we think The Branch Foundation can help create sustainable solutions. We have made our focus areas more precise in addition to redefining  our mission and vision statements to encapsulate our beliefs and passion.

Our mission is to work alongside marginalised communities in South-East Asia and support sustainable community development via our three main focus areas mentioned above. This helps us achieve our vision of cohesive South-East Asian communities empowered to be self-reliant and able to participate in the opportunities available in the wider community around them.

Apart from removing welfare and poverty relief from our goals, nothing has essentially been changed.  Slight adjustments have been made to our organisation’s values to make them more understandable to the inquisitive individual.