Dear Friends of SANNI Foundation,
February 1 marked the anniversary of the military coup in Myanmar. At that time, the democratically legitimized government around Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted, abruptly ending a decade of democratization. Since then, the country has descended into chaos and violence, public services such as health care and education have completely collapsed, and almost half of the population has slipped into poverty.
I am very dismayed by this situation, especially in view of the country’s positive developments in recent years. In the following, I would like to look back with you at what we have already achieved, in order to find in it the strength not to let the current disastrous situation get us down, and to tell you about the fate of a girl who has grown particularly close to my heart during this time!
With warmest regards,
Myanmar in the last 10 years
In 2012, Barak Obama, as the first US president, paid a visit to Myanmar and to the then opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, which gave a noticeable impetus to democratization and triggered storms of enthusiasm. In the same year, I was able to visit Myanmar, a country that was slowly opening up after 60 years of isolation, for the first time and also had the honor of being one of the first visitors to meet the Swiss ambassador in Yangon.
Fascinated by the beauty of the country and the kindness of the people, but at the same time shocked by the appalling poverty, I decided to find a partner with whom SANNI Foundation could help the needy in an uncomplicated and efficient way. With Dr. Frank and Dr. Ni Ni, who previously worked for Doctors Without Borders, I met our current partners, who easily meet SANNI Foundation’s requirement for a highly professional partner. Over the years, I have witnessed the wonderful progress Myanmar has made. For example, many new hotels were built, which among other things created many jobs. Everyone was in a spirit of optimism, so that the motivation and enthusiasm was palpable!
10 years later we can look back on the construction and operation of our own clinic, a children’s home and thousands of people we were able to support during this time. The highlight of my work is to see on site how the lives of children in particular visibly improve from year to year! Children growing up in the most difficult conditions receive food, medical support and education through our sponsorship program, enabling them to foresee a hopeful future.
In this context, the psychological aspect of the support is often underestimated. Not only for the children is the fact that someone on the other side of the world believes in them and therefore supports them invaluable. But also the feeling of belonging to the “SANNI Family” means a lot to them. During our annual visits, our sponsors were able to convince themselves of this.
Today, unfortunately, many things are different. Due to the global Covid 19 pandemic, my last visit with friends and supporters of SANNI Foundation took place in November 2019. Because of the situation in Myanmar described at the beginning of this newsletter, I am increasingly being asked about how SANNI Foundation is handling in this situation. In the words of Dr. Frank, the head of Sanni Foundation’s projects, “This is not our issue. We are here to help people and we can’t influence politics.” In a country where many aid organizations have fled and health care has completely collapsed, our help is more important than ever!
You want to help too? With only 360 CHF/300 EUR per year you can support a child to escape poverty. Alternatively, you can make a one-time donation to our “Children’s Fund” or contribute to the maintenance costs of the Lotus Clinic, which treats approximately 50,000 patients per year for free.
SANNI Foundation has secure ways of transferring money, 100% of the money arrives.
And who knows? Maybe sooner than expected we will be able to travel again to this beautiful country with its lovely people and see again with our own eyes what a significant contribution we can make there. That is what I wish with all my heart, especially for the people in Myanmar.
Phoo Yadanar wants to become a teacher
I met Phoo Yadanar on one of my first visits to Lotus Clinic in 2013. The clinic’s social workers told me about her heartbreaking story: Born in a large industrial slum area in Yangon, Myanmar, her mother died when she was very young and her father abandoned her shortly after. Ever since, she has been raised by her aunts and grandmother. They joke that ‘our house is small, but our love is bigger’. Phoo Yadanar was also born with HIV, but they were too poor to afford treatment or send her to school. From the age of 5, with an untreated deadly disease, she had to work collecting plastic to earn for food. She told me that she would like to become a teacher. She promised me that she would study a lot if we took her into our sponsorship program.
After that her life changed dramatically! She received free treatment at our Lotus Clinic and was finally able to attend school. Almost 9 years later, she is in her second to last year of high school, her health is stable and she is doing well.
Now nothing stands in her way of achieving her dream of becoming a teacher, as we will continue to support for her until she finishes her education!