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Welcome to One World Family Online
The One World Family International Peace Organization is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose goal is to promote understanding in a fractured world and to enrich the lives of its citizens through the strengthening of cross-cultural ties. We work to provide access to education and basic health care for Burmese refugees and other marginalized people throughout Southeast Asia.
All One World Family projects depend solely on donors like you to continue operating. Please consider donating whatever you can to our cause.
A Message from Mark LaMaire
The next couple months will be exciting and challenging for the One World Family team as we continue our work with displaced and marginalized communities in Southeast Asia. In January I will be travelling with a small team to Thailand to visit the villages we've been sponsoring since 2010. The purpose of this visit will be to check in and make sure all the villagers we work with are happy with the educational sponsorship program and to address any concerns they may have. While in Thailand we will also be visiting a number of schools, clinics, and orphanages to distribute critical funding to trusted organizations who are entrenched in the struggle for human rights and opportunity amidst a landscape of increased turmoil for ethnic refugees.
We are also proud to announce that our partner organization, Learn To Live, will be sending a team of volunteer health care specialists to Mok Mai, Laos this January. During their visit they will be teaming with another NGO to start a maternal health care program which aims to lower the extremely high infant mortality rate in this isolated region. One World Family acts as fiscal agent for Learn To Live. We wish these brave doctors and nurses all the best as they carry out this important and challenging mission.
Thanks to every one who has supported the work of One World Family, we couldn't do it without you. As we gear up for 2014 we are still in need of funding to assure that all the children we sponsor can continue their education for next year. Please consider donating by clicking the icon at the top of the page. Blessings and thanks!
Eva and I are wrapping up what has been a very productive and enjoyable five weeks in Thailand. After leaving the border town of Mae Sot, where we distributed food and monetary aid to several refugee organizations, we proceeded to head north to visit the Pang Tong villages, who's children we've been sponsoring to attend school for the past two years. This visit was extremely productive, thanks in large part to our new translator Mr. Noi.
We were happy that the children from the villages have been attending school regularly and progressing in their studies. There have, however, been some kinks in the operation which we were able to iron out during our visit. The duty of driving the children had been shuffled around between a few different people over the past year, which meant that the children were arriving late some days and it also complicated the payment system. After interviewing all the drivers and also talking to parents and school administrators we established that it would be best to have just one driver. We picked Mr. Pi Phut, the driver who everyone said was the most reliable and who's vehicle is the safest. We then put in place a new payment system where we pay the driver directly, as opposed to going through the school. Our translator will conduct weekly phone check-ins with the parents, the school, and the driver to assure that everything continues to runs smoothly.
While in the villages we were also able to buy new uniforms for 25 children who had outgrown their old ones.
Its been three years now since the idea for One World Family was hatched, and two years since we began our first school sponsorship. There is great difficulty in running these programs from overseas. This is why we will continue to shift our focus to helping on-the-ground operations who are already entrenched in the fight for freedom and equality for Burmese refugees as opposed to starting any new programs ourselves. We will still keep our commitment to the Pang Tong villages as their children progress through school. Perhaps once we have assured that we have the capacity and ample lines of communications in place we could try to replicate this system in other villages, as well. Thanks to everyone who's helped make the One World Family dream a reality. We look forward to seeing you back in America soon!
Eva and I recently left the town of Mae Sot after spending a week there doing work on behalf of One World Family. Mae Sot is located on the Thai/Burmese border and is a hub for the Burmese refugee population and also for organizations helping to secure a better life for these embattled people.
While in Mae Sot we met many amazing people who often shared with us their stories of persecution at the hands of the Burmese army. These stories were heart-breaking, but the spirit and resilience shown by these people is incredible and ultimately life-affirming. It was our pleasure to allocate a portion of the money donated to One World Family to several needy organizations working in Mae Sot.
Of the many refugee schools, orphanages, and clinics we visited there was one need that was voiced by nearly every group: the need for food. We were able to buy $600 worth of rice which we delivered to the New Blood School & Orphanage and to the One Dream One World Refugee School. We also donated about $100 to both One Dream One World and the Heavenly Home Orphanage to buy food for the children there. We wished we could have donated more, but the gifts were nevertheless greatly appreciated.
Burma has undergone many political changes recently, including opening their borders to international aid organizations. Because of this many funding organizations have shifted their focus to inside of Burma and pulled funding from projects dealing with refugees outside of the country (in Thailand, for example). This means that many of the aid organizations working in Mae Sot now face critical funding shortages despite the fact that refugees continue to pour into Thailand, this is why the children at the schools and orphanages we visited are often left going to bed hungry. What's more, the Burmese army continues to brutalize its ethnic people daily in spite of recent political reforms.
Next on our agenda is to visit the villages we've been sponsoring to go to school for the past two years. Please consider donating to One World Family as we continue our work with Burmese refugees. The suffering of these people is great and the situation is dire.