6th Update April 2009

Donor Report April 2009

Dear Friends,

I hope you are weathering the economic storm as best as possible. I know there is little extra in our pockets this year so if yours are empty, not to worry, read the report and take joy in knowing what your past donation is still doing. This storm will pass and I will catch you later. If you have some extra, no matter how small, your donation will go directly to people who need it most. BusinessKind has almost no administrative costs.

Cyclone Relief
May 2009 will be a somber time for the cyclone survivors. Although many have repaired their homes and found meager livelihoods, all the survivors are still grieving the lost of loved ones and their pre cyclone village life. During my March trip, the women in our job-training course talked of the approaching monsoon rains with fear. Their new friendships formed at the courses will be comforting when the rains and winds roar in. I will be there again in June to weather a few storms with them. These resilient hard working women greatly appreciate the new skills they have learned at the training courses and the opportunities to income generate by using these skills. They and their families send you many thanks for your donations.

Morning training course

Morning training course

Our immediate cyclone relief (May-July2008) and our post cyclone recovery relief (July-Oct 2009) programs and donations were summarized in my October Donor Report. Below is a summary of what your donations are still doing. Since my October trip, I have been back to Myanmar in January and March 2009.

Web Site
Many thanks to Tulio Bran and his associates for creating the BusinessKind website and John Lyons for contributing his beautiful photos. The address is http://www.businesskind.org/ . Please e me your comments, it is a work in progress. The GoodSleep web site is http://www.goodsleepnet.com/. Please click on. We get a lot of Myanmar clicks and orders.

BusinessKind Programs
Cathy Win, BusinessKind’s Myanmar Country Director, has done a fabulous job keeping programs on track working part time in 2008. She has decided to take on a full time position Businesskind’s programs in 2009. Cathy’s full time commitment as Country Director ensures that your donations go directly and effectively to support sustainable programs.

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Cathy Win- Country Director

GoodSleep
GoodSleep has been operating for nine months. Cho Cho San manages a staff of ten (four are women living with HIV/AIDS). Since the end of March GoodSleep has made 3,421 bed nets and sold 2,850 bed nets with a total sale earnings of $16,300. BusinessKind will continue to support GoodSleep’s monthly running costs through 2009.

GoodSleep hired Thant Zin, a full time sales person in December. He has worked hard distributing GoodSleep bed nets to thirteen retail stores in Yangon. BusinessKind funded GoodSleep $12,000 to buy a small truck. Thant Zin is an experienced and safe driver. Having a truck will decrease GoodSleep’s monthly transportation costs and will allow Thant Zin to sell bed nets directly to poor communities.

Thant Zin, Staff, and the GoodSleep Truck

Thant Zin, Staff, and the GoodSleep Truck

GoodSleep’s June – December 2008 Account Summary

Production start up costs $ 4,723
( sewing machines, office equipment, office renovation)
Production material costs $14,225
( net, cotton, packaging)
Operating costs $5,268
(salaries, transportation, marketing/sales, etc)
Total $24216
Bed net sales $ 8,835

Short Trip To China
I took a side trip in March to Fuzhou, China (polyester net making site of the world). I wanted to understand the process of making the polyester net and impregnating it with insecticide. The woman owner of the largest net factory in the region graciously hosted me. I will visit a similar factory outside of Bangkok in June. Before BusinessKind funds GoodSleep with large quantities of insecticide-impregnated net I want to make sure it is exactly what is needed and is bought at the best price.

Spinning the polyester

Spinning the polyester

Making the net

Making the net

GoodJob
BusinessKind is finishing its grant (Livelihood Generation for Women made vulnerable after Cyclone Nargis) with the French NGO, ACTED, on April 10th. Sixty-four vulnerable women who survived the cyclone have been supported with training skills and cash grants. Most are ready to receive specific support to start their small new businesses. BusinessKind was able to implementGoodJob cost effectively because ACTED provided our helicopter and speedboat transportation to cyclone affected remote villages. Businesskind will keep a close working relationship with ACTED to continue follow up and support as needed for the granted program and to oversee its new program, Moe Thauk Pan, in the Myanmar delta region, Labutta.

UN Helicopter Yangon-Labutta, 1 hour

UN Helicopter Yangon-Labutta, 1 hour

ACTED Speed boat to Village

ACTED Speed boat to Village

First graduates from GoodJob sewing training course

First graduates from GoodJob sewing training course

Moe Thauk Pan ( Rain Blossom Flower)
Of the sixty-four women we identified as being highly vulnerable ( lost a husband and or parents because of Nargis) five had graduated from standard eight ( March 2008) and were qualified ( in the top 20 of their class) to go to high school in the main town, Labutta. After the cyclone, none of the five was able to continue their education. The high school boarding homes in Labutta are expensive and crowded. BusinessKind decided it was more cost effective to open their own girl’s high school boarding home named Moe Thauk Pan. Attached to this report is a full report on this new program.

The first five scholarship boarders at MTP

The first five scholarship boarders at MTP

Sue Myat- administrative head and Cho San-Tutor

Sue Myat- administrative head and Cho San-Tutor

Moe Thauk Pan before renovation

Moe Thauk Pan before renovation

Maymyo Children’s Home
In January Don Taicher asked BusinessKind to oversee his donation to an orphanage in Maymyo, Myanmar. We spent a weekend at the home getting to know the caregivers and the twenty-four children. BusinessKind will make monthly visits to the home ensuring that Don’s generous donation is used effectively in nourishing and educating the children.

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501c3 Status
I am making steady progress with filing the forms for tax-exempt status. Thanks to all who are helping. It is complicated because BusinessKind’s mission is to create not-for-profit social businesses in Myanmar and this may conflict with USA trade sanctions on Myanmar. I will be working closely with lawyers over the next few months to file the forms. Fingers crossed!

Donations

If you have a little extra to donate here is where it will directly go

1. To help pay operating costs of GoodSleep, which keep the sales price of the bed nets affordable for poor people and which increases job benefits to the sewing staff.

2. To women made vulnerable by the cyclone, supporting them in training skills and starting small businesses.

3. To the start up costs of Moe Thauk Pan, a new girl’s high school boarding home in the cyclone affected town Labutta. See attached Moe Thauk Pan budget.

4. To provide charitable services ( medical, shelter, food) for poor people in critical need.

Please send your donations to
BusinessKind
2656 Larkin Street
San Francisco, Ca, 94109

I will be returning to Myanmar in early June, late August and Mid November. My next report will be after my August trip. Please have a look at both websites, and open attachments for more details on the programs. Call 415-713-4728 or e-mail at helengunthorpe@gmail.com with comments, advice or just to say hello, your feed back motivates me.

All my best, Helen