|Chiswick Woman Leads Aid Mission to Burma|
May Tha-Hla to present her moving stories and images at St Michael & All Angels
May Tha-Hla, a long-time Chiswick resident, was born and brought up in Burma, and for 15 years has run a market research company there with her brother. When the cyclone struck, her first concern was naturally her family, who luckily survived but with terrible damage to their homes.
She and her husband decided to take their money direct to help the stricken people. Almost as an afterthought, she decided to see if she could raise some additional donations, hoping maybe for one or two thousand pounds.
So the couple emailed all their friends, and business and social contacts, stressing that they were paying all expenses and all money would go to the needy. Amazingly, this raised nearly £30000 in only three weeks, and contributions have continued to flow.
May left for Rangoon on May 22nd, carrying the first £10000 in cash, and set to work. Because she has an extensive network of friends there, and is totally bilingual, she could use purely local groups who have freedom of travel in the affected regions.
Supplies of food were readily available for purchase in Rangoon, and a rice merchant friend made a lorry and staff available for transport. May made three day-long trips into the affected areas of the delta to distribute rice, oil, and lentils, and to bring the message that the world had not forgotten them. The final trip was by boat to villages beyond previous help. In total over 5000 people received food.
In addition she donated money to senior monks who are the main organisers of relief, to an orphanage, and to a medical team operating in the delta.
May is in the process of converting her appeal into a charity, because aid will be required for many years to come, and it is imperative to continue supporting the delta people.
If you would like to hear more about this work, May will be giving a talk with moving stories and photos of her trip, at St Michael and All Angels, on the corner of Turnham Green terrace and Bath Road, on Thursday July 3rd at 7.30 p.m. (doors open 7.15). Please email her at email@example.com if you would like to attend, or if you would like more information including how to donate.
June 24, 2008