Sunday, October 28, 2007

Help without frontiers - Help Burmese monks

This is a reprint of the October newsletter of Help Without Froniers

The last weeks were quite exhausting. We thank for all the sympathy and solidarity and beg your pardon, if lately we did not post messages on our blackboard. We will do retroactive. Please help the people in Burma and the refugees NOW! They need your help and support more than ever. We registered in the US, American donors can donate with full tax benefits. Thanks also for your encouragement and all the blessings. A ray of sunshine, a ray of hope, your HELP WITHOUT FRONTIERS team

1. BURMA: This time there is hope
2. IN THE MEDIA: Help Without Frontiers was a demanded interlocutor
3. NEVERTHLESS: A party celebrating 5 years of Help Without Frontiers
4. CHARITY EXHIBITION: The art of the refugees
5. MONKS HELP: Showtime and the Shaolin monks donate
6. VISIT: Fondazione San Zeno visits Hsa Htoo Lei school
7. REGISTERED IN USA: Tax benefits for US based donors
8. MEMBERS: 225 - and counting

1. BURMA: This time there is hope

The past weeks were quite hard for all of us. Together with our friends and staff we followed anxiously the developments of the Burmese protest movement. At the beginning we were full of hope, but soon anger and tears followed. We knew that the situation in Burma was worse than reported in the media. We were sad when we acknowledged, that the media reproduced the official lies of the regime non mentioning the truth declaring these news as from a "non verified source".

From our friends and contacts we knew from the beginning, what was really happening. We knew that monks and civilians were not only arrested for interrogation, but killed brutally or tortured until death. We knew that many innocent people were arrested and the families of the protesters held joint liable. We knew, that the real number of victims was closer to 1.000. It is so easy to make people disappear in Burma. Truckloads full of corpses (and not only corpses) were brought to the cremation sites. All news which are not official, but true.

But still there is hope. China cannot afford that the positive image it is buying with such huge amounts of money in occasion of the 2008 Olympic Games is affected and damaged. Killing fields in a neighboring country and closest ally of China would be the worst case scenario for this future global power. Therefore China is pressuring the generals, in the background as it is the Asian customs. We firmly believe, that soon the reformists among the generals will take power and start a serious reconciliation process with Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition and the ethnic minorities. We only can hope that the world, the media and the global players will continue pressuring that this process will lead to a good result.

2. IN THE MEDIA: Help Without Frontiers was a demanded interlocutor

As soon as the monks went on the streets the phones in our Mae Sot office started ringing without interruption. Journalists from all over Europe called to ask for information and interviews. In those days we hardly could find the time even to eat. But for us it was important to forward all information and to tell the truth about the situation inside Burma and of the refugees. The tragedy of many people ended in an opportunity for Help Without Frontiers.

The result were many articles, interviews and reports about Help Without Frontiers in the most popular media in Germany, Austria and Italy. Benno Röggla was also in touch with BBC World and the Guardian. Via Live-Satellite connection Benno was guest in a well known German TV Show.

3. NEVERTHLESS: A party celebrating 5 years of Help Without Frontiers

We pondered and weighed quite a while on if we should cancel the planned celebration in occasion of our 5 years anniversary. But our friends and partner encouraged us to not do so. Especially in such painful moments it is important to gather all together, exchange information and keep mood and hope high. The party turned into a big success.

Here you find the short report of Lena and the pictures of the celebration: 5 years Help Without Frontiers. The party..

4. CHARITY EXHIBITION: The art of the refugees

Some refugees from Burma have chosen the art to elaborate their traumas and have developed impressive skills and talents. Successful Art exhibitions in Vancouver, Seattle, Washington, Tokyo, Bruxelles and Florence, just to name a few stations, were the consequence.

Now, for the first time in Northern Italy, a wonderful selection of the paintings of Maung Maung Tinn, Saw Kennedy, Saw Win Tun, Chu Cil, Thut Aung and Nyan Soe will be exposed in an Art Gallery close to Bolzano/Bozen. The proceeds of the sales will be donated to Help without Frontiers.

6. MONKS HELP: Showtime and the Shaolin monks donate

The Shaolin Monks are touring our Province. Moved by the recent events in Burma, the tour organizers, Roland Barbacovi and its agency Showtime, decided together with the monks to donate part of the entrance fees to Help Without Frontiers. Furthermore, during the shows the audience will be invited to pass at our information booth in the atrium to collect our brochures and to donate directly. A very special way of helping. We thank from the bottom of our hearts.

6. VISIT: Fondazione San Zeno visits Hsa Htoo LEi school

Since 2 years the Fondazione San Zeno of Verona/Italy is partner of Help Without Frontiers and funding the Hsa Htoo Lei primary and high school. The foundation is funded itself by the international fashion company Calzedonia - Intimissimi and is supporting educational projects worldwide.

The responsible of San Zeno, Mrs. Rita Ruffoli, came to visit us and the school in October together with Father Pietro who lives since 30 years in Bangladesh. There he implements development and aid projects with the support of San Zeno, some are for refugees from Burma.

The welcome provided by all 500 students of Hsa Htoo Lei was moving. They performed dances, songs and speeches. At one point they invited Mrs. Rita and Padre Pietro to step up the stage to dress them in a traditional Karen costume. At the end of the very warm ceremony they had to shake the hands of all 500 students and all teachers (Pictures). Then they visited the school and all the classes and admired the school bus bought recently with San Zeno's funds. They were very impressed of what they saw and the progress made by the school.

Mrs. Ruffoli welcomed the fact that Hsa Htoo Lei is collecting small school fees in order to allow parents to participate more actively. After the visit we eat together with Paw Ray, the school headmistress, and some of the teachers.

In the following 3 days Mrs. Rita and Padre Pietro visited some of our other projects and had the chance to talk with some of our partners about the situation along the border and about their activities.

We are confident that this cooperation between San Zeno, Help Without Frontiers and Hsa Htoo Lei will endure, bringing good results also in future.

7. REGISTERED IN USA: Tax benefits for US based donors

Help without Frontiers has registered in the United States in order to allow American donors to benefit of tax advantages.

U.S.-based donors can now support our activities in a tax-efficient way through a contribution to the Help without Frontiers US Fund at the King Baudouin Foundation United States (KBFUS). Because KBFUS is a public charity, within the meaning of Sections 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(1) of the IRC, donors may claim the maximum tax benefits allowed by U.S. tax law for their contributions.

American donors who do not require a tax receipt are kindly advised to support us directly and not via KBFUS.

For further information or for donating to HWF US Fund please click here.

8. MEMBERS: 225 - and counting

Now we are 225 members, a big family. Lately we received applications from Canada, Japan, England and Finland. For us each member is important as it gives voice to the people in Burma and the refugees. But it boosts also our own motivation, with its ideas and tips and by donating sometimes a bit of its time to help us in our work. The membership fee is used to cover part of our running costs, as we do not touch the donations we receive, they are invested without any deduction in our projects.

If you want to associate, here is the link: New members welcome!

Help without Frontiers
Registered in the Public Index of voluntary organisations of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, Italy, L.D. 20/ 1.1. of February 4, 2003

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