In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the people of Myanmar are suffering doubly under the weight of 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 a 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
Prae Sunantaraks is the Mekong Region Director at AVPN.
This article was first published on the AVPN blog on 24 May 2021. It is being republished in Alliance with permission.