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Friday, October 7, 2011

Moegyo (1) Basic Primary School, Pan Tha Pyay Village, Shan State

Here is a story of how one man changed the lives of one hundred and fifty children and those around them. The impact that he has made will be felt for generations to come and he is our hero. That man is Jimmy (aka) Moses. This is his story.

May 2010: I visited this Palaung village “Pan –Tha-Pyay” located on the mountain range  about 10 miles from the village of Mongyaw where we helped built a Primary school in 2007-2009. I discovered that in this village of over 500 people, including nearly 200 children, not only nobody can read or write but also their standard of living is very primitive.

I persuaded the village elders to build a temporary school using bamboo and thatch to begin classes by June. It was easy for them to see a need to build a school after I showed them a video of a school that we built at a nearby village of Mongyaw, by using a portable dvd player I carried with me.

We hired a Kachin native who speak Shan, Burmese and a bit of Palaung as a teacher at a salary of $60 per month for 10 months, (June 2010 to March 2011). We also had to buy a motorcycle at a cost of $500 for him to commute between this village (Pan-Tha-Pyay) and his home which is in Monyaw 10 miles away. We also left $300 to purchase school supplies such as blackboard, exercise books, pencils, etc.

Look at the condition of the road leading to Pan Tha Pyay village:

October 2010: A friend who is a member of Moegyo Humanitarian Foundation introduced me to the organization. I explained the school project to the members and they realized and understood the need, and without any hesitation agreed to help the funding of the project with $5,000 (five thousand dollars). This foundation was initially formed to help the Nargis Cyclone victims in Myanmar. This non-profit humanitarian organization has continued to help other causes.

Also, friends who knew about this school project donated collectively a total of $4000 (Four thousand dollars).

November 2010: I returned to this Palaung village to begin construction of a permanent school building.

December 24:  The village headman secured an empty lot for us to construct the school building. The school building measures 60 feet by 40 feet, the building will have a three separate classrooms. All the necessary building materials will have to be bought and trucked to this village.

January 27: An opening ceremony was held.

Watch the school opening ceremony here:

Subsequently on the 9th of May 2011, with further additional funding from MHF, a teacher’s living quarter complete with toilet facility, bathroom and concrete water storage tank were built and the construction was completed on the 23 of June 2011.

There are more than one hundred and fifty students and more are expected to come from nearby villages to enroll. There are five teachers: one male and four female, all of whom are ethnic Kachin. They seemed to know the psychology of these Palaung children. Their teaching found to be helping the transformation of these once ragtag purposeless children into decent happy looking filled with hope looking for a better future.

This project could not have been possible without the generous support from Moegyo Humanitarian Foundation, and please allow me to fervently say this, I am humble and at the same time I am proud to have the opportunity of calling myself one of the volunteers of this great organization and once again let me express my profound appreciation for making this project possible.

For more photos, please visit Moegyo's photo gallery.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Help from Angel

As soon as we saw the photo of this boy from Pay-Chaung Youth Development Center with big cyst on his nose, we all wanted to get him help with his Meningocele condition. We all tried to get in touch with our contacts in Yangon to find a surgeon who is familiar with Meningocele repair while inquiring if the boy himself would like to do it. One day, one of the volunteers shared a forward email she received about a team of German doctors performing pro-bono reconstructive surgeries in Ngapali. We all got excited by the email and tried to confirm the legitimacy of the email and it was to our amazement that it proved to be true. It turned out that Oliver Soe Thet of Myanmar Chefs Association was responsible for bringing in a team of German doctors with Interplast in the country to perform free surgeries. To add to our thrill of knowing that the boy is so lucky to be in good hands of capable and experienced surgeons, the contact email address in the forward email was “Angel”. For more information about Maung Win Htun’s operation, please read the report from the field below:

Once Moegyo members have seen the photo of Mg Win Htun, they wanted to help with the boy’s bump on his nose. But they were quite scared that something might go wrong with the operation if not done properly. Anyhow they were still eager to help the boy. Last month I got an email from one of Moegyo members that Oliver’s MCA group has been helping that kind of patients. Once I got his email and his phone number, I tried to contact him and try to get appointment with the surgeon who could operate on the boy. Then, I informed the Pay-Chaung Parahita school that the boy was going to get his operation. They were very happy and awaiting my reply of the operation date. The boy was also very happy that he will have his bump on his nose removed.

The boy must have all the luck since I always got direct contact with Oliver and he helped the boy get the operation date so quickly. As soon as the date was confirmed, I informed the school to bring the boy to Yangon for his operation. The boy along with the school chair person arrived Yangon on 8th November. Due to some transportation problem, the time they got to Oliver’s office was quite late and the boy could not get admitted to the hospital on that day and they had to stay at the hotel and dinner was arranged for them on that day.

Next morning (9th November), he and his school chairperson, U San Maung, (who accompanied the boy during his hospitalization) went to the hospital to register the boy. He got admitted at the Yangon Neurological Hospital and then was sent to Pin-Lon Special Clinic to get CT scan and blood test. Not to get fright with the environmental change for the boy, I went there with them. Surprisingly, the boy seemed calm all the time. He was just smiling and pleased with the new environment. After the check-ups, we all got back to the Yangon Neurological Hospital at 1:30pm. U San Maung and MCA’s staff went to make registration and the staff showed U San Maung the shop that he had to buy medicine for the boy. Everything was new and so strange for the boy that he looked at everything around him in awe. Even the trains that going passed at the back of the hospital was quite amusing for him to see.

On that day, I also met with the Professor Dr. Myat Thu (the head of Neurological Department). He also encouraged the boy that everything is going to be fine that his bump is not so big and not so serious. Doctor also was very glad that we brought this boy to hospital that he has got some experience that some of the patients could not get the operation done since they can’t even afford transportation to get to Yangon. Since the doctor found out that the boy is an orphan, he tried to squeeze in his busy operation schedule and gave us an operation date as soon as possible. We got the operation date on Friday (12th November) even though he wasn’t on duty that date.

On Friday, I arrived there at 7:30 am to take the photos of the boy before the operation. Unluckily, the notice at the entrance of the hospital stopped me in my track to take photos. The boy went into the operation room at 8:30am and came out at 10:30am. The doctor said that the operation was successful. He invited me to his room and explained the case details as followed:
“His bump is only on the outer surface of the nostril so it is quite easy to take it off. He got that bump because there is a small liquid bag in his brain. One is the size of marble in the left hemisphere and another is the oval shape of 4cm long. That is not a problem for him.”

He also showed the photos of the operation and the stitches he made for the boy. He also told me that whenever I find someone with condition of the boy, please take him/her to this hospital as soon as possible. Since he has been getting the medical and accessories help from Oliver’s group, he is always ready to help them get operation.

During the stay in the hospital, MCA provided all the medical charges and meal for the boy. The things that are needed at the hospital and trip expenses are provided by MHF. Everyone in the hospital said that the boy was very lucky that everything was ready for him. After 5 days of his operation, I have got a phone call from the hospital that the boy is going to be discharged since his wound is so dry and in good condition. They went back to kyite-latt on 19th November (Friday). At first we tried to arrange to send them to visit some places in Yangon, but we could not make it happen unfortunately.

During the time in the hospital, Maung Win Htun took his bath 4 times a day as he was so happy to take a bath in the bathroom. He eats 3 plates of rice for every meal and 2 bowls of Mote-hin-gar every morning. He was also going around the hospital talking with the patients around him. He was also very happy for by other Moegyo volunteers, Ma Thi Thi and Ma Thuzar’s visit.

Last time we visited Pay-Chaung Youth Development Center, we met Maung Win Htun being happy that the bump on his nose was gone and all surgical wounds healed. I’d like to thank Oliver Soe Thet of Myanmar Chefs Association and Prof. Dr. Myat Thu of Yangon General Hospital Neurological Department for helping with Maung Win Htun operation.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Moegyo 4th Annual Burmese Food Fair

Come enjoy the delicious, authentic Burmese food and help a great cause.

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

12:00 noon to 4:00 pm

James B Colgate School
42-00 72nd Street
Woodside, NY 11377
(School entrance is on 43rd Avenue.)

By Train: 7, E, F, R, M
Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Ave, 74th St-Broadway Station

By Car:
The school entrance is on 43rd Ave between 69th and 72nd Street 
(2 blocks North of Queens Blvd.).
Turn into 43rd Ave from 72nd Street.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Moegyo Humanitarian Foundation 3rd Anniversary

On 1 May 2011, Moegyo Humanitarian Foundation commermorated its 3rd anniversary by offering breakfast to monks and performing meritorious deeds at Loka Chantha Temple in Brooklyn in the name of natural disaster victims around the world namely the fishermen lost at gulf of Martaban, earth quake victims in Shan State, Myanmar, and earth quake victims in Japan.

Since its founding in 2008 to assist victims of Cyclone Nargis, Moegyo Humanitarian Foundation has been working with the following local orphanages to provide assistance to the most vulnerable children with housing, food, clothing, health, and education:

1. Mingalar orphanage, Twentay

2. Mya Theingi orphage near Yangon

3. Kani Orphanage at Kani Village near Phyar Pon

4. Pyinnyar Waddy Orphanage at Kyite-latt. For more information, please read here and here.

5. Pay-Gyaung Parahitta" in Pay Gyaung village, Kyite-Latt township

Rebuilding Padin Community Post-Primary School in Rakhine

Moegyo Humanitarian Foundation would like to commend Link Emergency Aid & Development (LEAD), a local NGO in Myanmar, for its efforts in emergency food distribution and school building and repairs projects in Cyclone Giri affected areas, and when the Moegyo team learned of an opportunity to partner with LEAD in rebuilding the Padin Community Post-Primary School, we immediately took advantage of it.

We would also like to thank our volunteer, Ma Thi Thi Thein, for coordinating with LEAD and for visits to the site and the reports. The following assessment and photos are credited to LEAD and Ma Thi Thi Thein.

Padin Community Post-Primary School

Padin is also one of the villages of Hpa-Tu-Gyi village tract and situated in the eastern bank of middle Pa-Yone-Kar Island. The village is recently enlisted in the MIMU map. Main livelihoods include fishing and orchard planting. There is no government school in Padin. A total of 78 students from kindergarten to fifth grade were studying in community self-financed Post-Primary school before it was badly damaged during the Cyclone Giri.Padin’s economic situation is not favorable for them to repair the school on their own. Besides, as in Nga-Yout-Chaung, community schools are not in the first priority list of UNICEF and Department of Education to repair or rebuild.

Padin facts & figures

Population: 450
Families: 88
Pcode: 218001
Occupation: Fishing, Orchards
Number of students: 78
Grades: Kindergarten to Fifth Grade
Activity: Repair current school
Estimated cost: 1 million Kyat (for the building only)
Esitmated duration: 1 month
Current status: Discussing details with community members
Estimated start time: January 2011
Other needs: School furniture, textbooks and stationeries

See the before and after photos of the school repair:

Damaged school:

After rebuilding:

Ma Thi Thi Thein distributing school supplies:

Please see here for more photos from this project:

The school rebuilding project is now fully completed. On behalf of the children of Padin Village, we sincerely thank LEAD and Ma Thi Thi Thein for their efforts.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Urgent help needed to provide drinking water and blankets to the victims of the earthquake in Shan State, Myanmar

As you know, an earthquake of magnitude 6.8 on the Richter scale and 10 km depth struck Shan State in Myanmar at 20:29:30 hrs Myanmar Standard Time on 24 March 2011. Since the earthquake and as of Sunday 27 March evening, a total of eight aftershocks have been reported from affected areas. The risk of landslides remains high. According to the reports, the epicentre of the earthquake was near Loimwe, located about 35 miles (56 kilometers) southeast of Kengtong in Shan State, and the ten locations affected included Tarlay, Mong Lin, Mong Yawng and Tarchileik towns and Kyakuni, Wan Lon, Pa Line, Kong Sar, and An-khan villages.

The latest official number of casualties currently stands at 74 deaths and 125 injuries. However, according to witnesses this number could become higher in coming days. Over 300 houses and buildings, including a number of Government buildings were damaged. In addition, thirty-one (31) religious buildings have been damaged as well as eleven (11) schools. One 16-bed rural hospital in Tarlay was damaged. We are very sad to learn that the home of our friend's parents in Mong Lin was totally destroyed. Luckily, his family only suffered minor injuries.

The damaged Tarlay Bridge, connecting Tachileik and Tarlay, has been temporarily repaired, enabling the re-opening of the road from Tachileik to Tarlay in the evening of 26 March. However, it is observed that the Bridge may not in a condition adequate for traffic by heavy trucks. Only light trucks, motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians are advised to cross the Bridge. Access from Kengtung remains possible. The Tarlay Sub-Towhship Relief Committee, established by the Myanmar Government, has estimated the damage of the earthquake at approximately 3 billion Kyats (approximately USD 3.6 million).

Some say that this is the third largest natural disaster in Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis (2008) and Cyclone Giri (2010). Hundreds of victims are still reportedly lacking access to food and aid even though relief supplies are being distributed from local and international communities everyday. Most villagers are still living in tents in front of their damaged and collapsed houses in unseasonal rains and cold weather. We are also hearing that well water is no longer drinkable with high sulphur content as a result of the earthquake.

What can we do?

Moegyo team has contacted a local volunteer who can deliver blankets, food and water directly to the victims, and to begin immediately, we have already donated $500 to purchase the goods. But we need much much more. The victims need us to step up and help in this time of needs. If you wish to donate through Moegyo, please contact us and we will make sure your donations reach the victims. We will take photos of donated goods and will share them with you. If you know volunteers in the area who can visit victims and distribute aid, please let us know.

Please see here some pictures taken by volunteers.

Mon Linn Village - earthquake (March 2011)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Moegyo Humanitarian Foundation 2010 Highlights

Another year has passed and at this time of sharing and joyful season, the Moegyo Team would like to thank all the donors, contributors, supporters and volunteers for the wonderful support given to the orphans and vulnerable children in Myanmar. We would also like to acknowledge the hard work and personal sacrifices made by the Moegyo volunteers in Myanmar to deliver the needed support to difficult-to-reach places and also to make sure that aid money is spent wisely and effectively.

2010 was an eventful year for the Moegyo Team. The Moegyo Team organized three fundraising activities to help the children.

1. 3rd Annual Moegyo Food Fair in New York
2. Moegyo participated as a food vendor at 20th Dragon Boat Festival in New York
3. 1st Annual Holiday Charity Dinner in Virginia

In addition to supporting 5 orphanages with day to day needs, we are also fortunate enough to give educational support for nine out of ten students that passed the high school exam at Kani Village Youth Development and Education center to go on to university.

1. Mingalar orphanage, Twantay
2. Mya theingyi orphage near Yangon
3. Kani Orphanage at Kani Village in Phyar Pon
4. Pyinnyar Waddy Orphanage at Kyite-latt
5. Pay-Gyaung Parahitta in Pay Gyaung village, Kyite-Latt township

Moegyo also partnered with other organizations in Myanmar and abroad and made numerous donations to several locations in the country. One of the unfortunate events was cyclone GIRI that hit South Western region that affected over 200,000 people. Moegyo was able to support the cyclone GIRI victims through the Buddhist Missionary Society Inc. in New York.

During the water-shortage crisis in the summer in Myanmar, the Moegyo team partnered with the Searchers-Myanmar team to distribute plastic buckets that can store 20 gallons of rain water.

Moegyo was able to provide support needed for a month worth of rice distribution at Myittar Kyay Mon center, a Day-care center for people living with HIV/AIDS in Mawlamyaing township.

Moegyo gave a special gift to children with special need at Kyaik Waing Disabled Children Care Center by providing support needed to build a water tower.

All of this would not have been possible without your support. Yet there is so much more to do. Many more children need your help. Many more schools need new roofs or floors. In 2011, we would like to do more to help. Please join us in this journey. We believe that together, we can make a difference!

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