Usually, during summer, we would be busy with hundreds of students, many classes a day, many activities and excursions. But instead, we are giving our hand to others in need due to the Covid-19 World Pandemic. For the last 8 months, the whole world has been going through had times due to the coronavirus pandemic. In Myanmar things are no different, thousands of positive cases, thousands of people without jobs, without income, without food... All of us are living an uncertain moment, but here at the Hand to Hand Charity Myanmar we believe that if we keep a positive mind if we focus our mind on doing what we can for the community, giving a hand to each other, showing our love the way we can, it will be possible to overcome all this stronger as ever.
Sue wants to share with all of you a little about her routine at home, so you can learn a little more about our culture. The video is in Myanmar language, but we are sure by watching it you will be able to understand it. Basically, Sue shares her daily life routine, cooking food for the monks every morning, share purified water to whoever passes in front of the house, explains about her business, how every morning the house members do their chores to keep it all clean and ready to welcome everyone, she explains about the Hand to Hand Charity, shows the library, the summer school classroom that this year is been used as a food storage area, she explains the initial donations made to the Nyaung Shwe hospital, the support for disadvantage families with basic food and vegetables and she says thank you to all the donors, supporters, volunteers involved in everything making all possible. This video was recorded in April 2020, just at the beginning of everything we were starting doing.
At the end of May, Sue decided that was time to think and prepare our regular school support for the kids so they could start their school term. Due to the pandemic, most of the families were concerned and worrying about how to provide food for their kids, as many of them lost their jobs or had their daily income reduced. Sue decided that she would support 300 kids this year, the biggest number she has ever done it. So this became our main campaign. Our volunteer Juju, organized our first online fundraising, to be able to help to achieve this goal.
The fundraising was so successful that besides providing school support we also could help more than 500 families with food. We started giving away food to 150 kids that are members of our library program, the children and their families were surprised and so grateful. To all of them, Sue explained the reason we are giving them this support, how we are able to support them with the help of all of you from around the world. Sue also gave each child a handwritten letter saying how much we appreciate their desire to read the book, to continue learning even the schools are closed again ( the government at the beginning of September decided to shut down the schools and reopen only in 2021 because they worry for the children to get sick, as the number of covid-19 in the country increased a lot). In the letter, she also explains everything we do here and asks for the parents to continue supporting their children and to participate in our activities and we will continue supporting them as much as we can.
Behind every activity we do, there are lots of planning, preparation, and organization, so everything happens the best way possible. Here is a little bit of our preparation for the first food-sharing using the donation made on the Give Asia Fundraising.
In October Inle Lake, the region we are located, is a very busy time, lots of tourists, local and foreign, all come to enjoy one of the most beautiful celebrations we have, called the Phaung Daw Oo Festival, or Inle Lake Festival. The boat drivers work a lot and also they have the chance to participate in the lake procession bringing the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda's Buddha to visit the villages around the lake.
Unfortunately, this year, the festival was canceled, we don't have neither local nor foreign tourists in town since August, all due to the second wave of the coronavirus that came with a super high increase of positive cases in the country.
Sue asked around how was the situation of the boat driver's family, and we got to know that they are having a very difficult time to have income and to provide food for their families. Sue, them decided to support them, because she remembered during her tour guide time how much the boat drivers would help her, so this was her chance to pay forward and give back to them.
We wish this bag full of love disguised in food to bring some happiness and hope to all these families. As much as we received to see their smiles and words of appreciation.
In the video below, you can have a look at some of the few things we were able to accomplish along the past few months, with the help, support, and love from friends near us and from friends from far away. We appreciate all your effort, we are grateful for everything you all do for our people in Nyaung Shwe. We wish every day in our prayers that we will be able to meet again soon, will be able to do more and more together.
The year did not finish yet, we have many ideas and projects to come... We know slowly and step by step we can make a difference in people's lives, especially during harder times. With compassion, patience, and empathy everything will get better.
Stay with a positive mind!!!
Everything will be ok soon!!!