Thingyan Celebration

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It was a hot day, but everyone had a smile on their face despite the heat. The lunch bell rang and everyone eagerly began to make their way to the dining room. The meal was to be a special one, with an ice cream treat happily served at the end.

The month of April brings about the Thingyan Festival in Myanmar. A very special celebration, Thingyan marks both the water festival and the Myanmar New Year. During this time it’s common for people to make donations and spend time meditating at monasteries. At KT Care we decided we wanted to make a donation that would have a positive effect on as many people as possible. For our Thingyan donation we choose to donate both items, such as clothes and games, as well as money to the Disabled Care Unit in Yangon.

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The money that we donated went towards a special Thingyan lunch which KT Care staff was fortunate enough to attend. The tables were full of smiling faces, enthusiastically reciting a thank you prayer before beginning the meal. We walked around the dining room and were met with smiles and waves from everyone. All were eager to pose for pictures, flashing large grins and peace signs.

Run by the Department of Social Welfare, the Disabled Care Unit (DCU) currently has 77 people with disabilities living on the grounds. With 28 females and 49 males, individuals living there are anywhere between the ages of 5-35. This coming August will mark the 10 year anniversary of the opening of the DCU.

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While we were there we spoke with the Principal of the facility, Ley Ley Myint and Jiah, a volunteer from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). Principal Myint has been in her position for almost 3 years and is well liked by the students and staff at the DCU. Her job, she says, is to help the students help themselves as much as possible. She created a board that has the picture of each student, and behind each picture is a place for them to put their toothbrushes. This system allows students to independently retrieve their own toothbrush by themselves. It may seem like a small act, but this small act helps contribute to a sense of empowerment for the students.

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Jiah, the volunteer from Korea had been at the facility for almost a year and half now. Her face lit up when speaking about the students she works with. Trained as a nurse, she had previously had no experience working with individuals with disabilities. She says this has been a great learning experience and feels incredibly fortunate to have been placed at the DCU.

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KT Care staff left the Disabled Care Unit with smiles on our faces and warm feelings in our hearts. The happiness we saw from the students was contagious, and seeing them happily enjoying their lunch and ice cream was the best way for us to begin the Thingyan holiday.

Eden Centre for Disabled Children

Since its inception more than fifteen years ago, the Eden Centre for Disabled Children (ECDC) has become the premiere institution for rehabilitation and care for young persons with disabilities in Myanmar.

Starting with 14 children and only 2 staff in 2000, the ECDC currently has over 200 students and 60 staff members. The facility is well equipped to meet the needs of the children, with 5 classroom, 2 therapy rooms and a hydrotherapy room.

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Children from 1-18 years of age come to the centre Monday thru Friday to engage in a variety of different rehabilitation activities. Some come every day, some stay a full day and some stay a half day, but every single child that spends time at the Eden Centre leaves there with a sense of hope and empowerment.

One of ECDC’s  ongoing projects focuses on Inclusive Community Development. At the moment there is a lack of awareness in Myanmar in regards to the rights of people with disabilities, as well as what they can achieve. There is a substantial amount of stigma associated with disabilities and limited resources available. The Eden Centre is working very hard to change that. They work to educate the public and help ‘mainstream’ individuals with disabilities so that they may live happy and fulfilling lives, just like all of their fellow countrymen.

KT Care got a chance to speak with U Tha Uke, one of the founders of Eden Centre during the preliminary elections for the first ever government sanctioned Council for Persons with Disabilities. As he spoke about the history of the ECDC and the services offered, it was very clear the amount of passion and enthusiasm he has for his work. He has dedicated his life to this endeavor and fully believes in what he does.

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Although there is still a significant amount of work to be done in Myanmar in regards to individuals with disabilities, people like U Tha Uke and institutions like the Eden Centre are leading the way to a new era where all people are treated equally and are able to live rich, fulfilling lives.

To learn more about the ECDC please visit:

http://www.edencentre.org/

Cherry Wai

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KT Care was fortunate enough to be involved in the Myanmar SAP Sabbatical Program, a wonderful incentive that involves top performing employees from the SAP Software Solutions corporation to act as consultants in a month long assignment in various developing nations with the aim of helping social and not-for-profit enterprises achieve best practices and attain operational efficiency. Today’s post comes from one of the consultants who worked with KT Care, Alice Liu.

Ma Cherry Wai is a girl coming from a poor village in dry zone area of Myanmar. There used to be 7 members in the family: 2 parents, 5 children. In 2008, Cyclone Nargis hit Ayeyarwaddy Delta region and took 3 of her siblings and her mom’s lives. They also lost all the possessions including their house. The father, one brother and she were everything the Nargis disaster has left for the poor family. As the father is getting old, he can’t work as before. He has to take casual labor jobs to cover the expenses for the 3. Education is the only hope they have to change the fate of the family, but they can only support one to continue at school: her brother. She is really smart and was doing very well at school, still there seemed no chance for her to get to college.

She once wrote:“Ambition can be defined as goal, objective, and expectation. It is also dream of our desires. Everybody should have an ambition for their life standing. Planting is for getting shade, fruits, and flowers. Learning/studying is for understanding the subject. Similarly, I also have my life ambition. My ambition is to become a teacher.”

From the local community leader, Cherry Wai heard about KT Care Foundation that they have a program to provide scholarship to people with financial difficulty. She applied immediately and she got it.

Now she is studying remotely in Pathein University majored in English. She studies at home mostly, but she has to go to the university to take exams from time to time. KT Care Foundation covered her tuition fee, travel and accommodation expenses for exams.

She is in her second year now, and her life is full of hope but she never forgets giving, she said: “I want to be a teacher who can teacher the children. Moreover, I also want to be a company staff. After I graduated, I will let my father retire from his job and I will treat him. I will support my younger brother to become a well-educated person. I will try to become a clever daughter for my father and good elder sister for my brother, and will serve for my family. In addition to this, I will try to work for the development of my community and country. ”

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Until now, KT Care Foundation has helped 42 scholarship students like Cherry Wai. The scholarship program is only one program out of many programs KT Care Foundation is running. I am lucky to join SAP’s social sabbatical program and have the chance to work closely with KT Care Foundation. The 7 staff here are really making a difference to the world with their hard work.

The Little Things

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Sometimes the things that seem like the smallest of actions can have big affects. Telling someone you like their shirt, saving them a piece of cake or even just flashing a smile. These little actions can make another person feel good. And when people feel good they spread that positivity. The domino effect of happiness occurs and the world is a little brighter because of it.
There are a number of orphanages that KT Care provides donations to; money, clothing and time. One of these is the Aung Zayar Min Monastery. Located on the outskirts of Yangon, the monastery houses an orphanage which currently has 2,300 children living there. Some are there long term, other short term. There are kids whose parents have passed away. Others who have parents that are sick and can’t take care of them at this particular moment. Everyone’s story is different. But the one thing they all have in common is the fact that they’re young.  And life can be tough when you’re a kid, especially when you’re without parents.

Last week KT Care staff and a few guests took a trip to Aung Zayar Min Monastery to make a monetary donation. But when we went we brought more than just money. We brought treats for the kids and we brought smiles. We didn’t just hand over the cookies and leave. No, we played with the kids. We listened to them sing songs. We took their pictures and showed them the photos. We smiled at them. And they smiled back.
The monks that live in the monastery provide a lot for theses children. They act as their teachers and their caregivers, their friends and their disciplinarians. They do so much for them. And it’s obvious the affection these kids have for them. And it’s obvious the affection the monks have for the children. It’s a happy place. Though many of these children have endured sadness in their short lives, the monastery provides these kids with a happy sanctuary where they can feel safe and feel loved.

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The smiles and treats that we gave the children at the Aung Zayar Min Monastery were small tokens. But they gave the children a big feeling of happiness and joy. And the smiles and laughter the children gave to us were small tokens. But they left us with a big feeling of contentment. We went to the monastery to give gifts to the children, but we left the monastery with the greatest gift we could have asked for, a child’s smile.

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Putting a Smile on Every Face

KT Care has been fortunate enough to be involved in the Myanmar SAP Sabbatical Program, a wonderful incentive that involves top performing employees from the SAP Software Solutions corporation to act as consultants in a month long assignment in various developing nations with the aim of helping social and not-for-profit enterprises achieve best practices and attain operational efficiency. Today’s post comes from one of the consultants who worked with KT Care, Dilip Radhakishnan.

As a volunteer traveling through Myanmar one thing that catches your attention is everybody around has a smile. There is a sense of contentment and a sense of happiness wherever you go; whether it’s the janitor rushing to open the door for you or the taxi driver who had to go all over to find the address you want to be dropped at, or the vendor on the street with whom you just had a hard bargain. Everybody smiles.
But unfortunately, not everybody is lucky enough to flash that wonderful smile. It’s estimated that a child is born every 3 minutes with a cleft problem; that equals about one in every 500-750 births. And it’s the poorest in the remotest places, with their limited access to medical facilities, poor nutrition and inability to pay for medical treatment are the ones who are the most affected.  Cleft causes problems in feeding, could lead to ear infections, impacts the child’s socializing skills due to stigma and may also lead to speech impairment.

When I met with KT Care foundation as part of my pro-bono volunteering program in Yangon, Myanmar I was instantly struck with the passion the staff had for the work they were doing with the local communities. Cleft lip and cleft palate was one of their most prominent programs. Reaching out to remote parts of Myanmar, they identify patients who could benefit from this treatment, some as young as 10 months old.

In order to receive this treatment patients have to travel from their villages to the capital city of Yangon (accompanied by a parent), have to undergo pre-checks from a pediatrician and then complete the post-op stay in the hospital from anywhere between 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the extent of post-operative care needed. This is a kind of
treatment most patients could ill afford in a country where the average salary is around 105$ and in the rural areas much lower. Coming over to Yangon for treatment also means they are without income for the duration of their stay. The rural areas they came from in most cases do not even have proper primary health care, let alone hospitals were these surgeries could be performed. KT Care took care of all their medical expenses including transportation, stay and meal allowance for the patient and the accompanying caretaker.

The impact of these programs fully dawned on me when I visited the Shwe Baho Medical Center in Yangon to visit the patients and talk to their parents. On the day of my visit there were 8 patients ranging from 10 months – 37 years who were in different stages of post-operative care. The parents were initially a little shy but then opened up to talk about how happy they were for the support provided.  It’s simply amazing to see how these 2-3 hour surgeries mostly done under local anesthesia, completely changed the way the patients looked and felt about themselves.
I had also the good fortune to meet up with Daniel Ian, the country director of World Together in Myanmar. A very compassionate gentleman with a strong drive to improve the lives of people in this country. World Together is one of the organizations supporting the cleft lip and cleft palate programs run by KT Care. KT Care supports around 120 surgeries each year.

Putting the smile back on every face is what KT Care does best. And I am glad I could join in this wonderful endeavor for a short period of time.

“We make a living by what we get, But we make a life by what we give.”
Winston Churchill

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Thekathaung Trip

The new year has brought new staff to KT Care Foundation, and at the beginning of February the entire team took a trip to Thekathaung village in the Delta to visit some of KT Care’s past projects.

After the long trip from Yangon staff settled into their accommodations and were treated to a delicious meal prepared by locals. With access to fresh seafood and vegetables the team never went hungry while in Thekataung.

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The first morning was spent touring the primary school built by the Foundation in 2008 after Cyclone Nargis’ devastating effects. The school was thriving and at the start of the days students performed the national anthem with great pride and enthusiasm.

In the evening staff met with local students who were receiving educational scholarships from KT Care to discuss with them their various programs and experiences. It was great talking with students and getting feedback from them on how to improve our Scholarship Project. We love creating an open dialogue with our beneficiaries, and these young people were full of great ideas.

The next day we visited both the freshwater pond and the bridge connected to it that was donated by U Kyaw Thaung, the founder of the Foundation’s parent company, KT Group. The freshwater pond gives the residents of the village a place to gather fresh, clean water and the bridge allows them to transport it back to their homes with ease. It was hot that day and the traffic on the bridge was steady.

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Program Updates

Mobile Clinic in Pob Bat Kan: The weekend of February 20-21 KT Care held a mobile clinic in Pob Bat Kan village in Mgway State. The first mobile clinic of the year was
also the first time dental services have been provided at one of our mobile clinics.
Of the patients that were seen, roughly 350 were seen for general health services. 200 patients were seen for related issues and 100 were dental patients. The time needed to arrange such a clinic is roughly 2 months, with input from KT Care staff, community leaders and our partner in this endeavor, World Together. Staff, medical personnel and volunteers were kept extremely busy during the weekend, but were ultimately able to provide care for over 650 patients.

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Ma Cherry Wai Story

Ma Cherry Wai is a girl coming from a poor village in dry zone area of Myanmar. There used to be 7 members in the family: 2 parents, 5 children. In 2008, Cyclone Nargis hit Ayeyarwaddy Delta region and took 3 of her siblings and her mom’s lives. They also lost all the possessions including their house. The father, one brother and she were everything the Nargis disaster has left for the poor family. As the father is getting old, he can’t work as before. He has to take casual labor jobs to cover the expenses for the 3. Education is the only hope they have to change the fate of the family, but they can only support one to continue at school: her brother. She is really smart and was doing very well at school, still there seemed no chance for her to get to college.

She once wrote:

Ambition can be defined as goal, objective, and expectation. It is also dream of our desires. Everybody should have an ambition for their life standing. Planting is for getting shade, fruits, and flowers. Learning/studying is for understanding the subject. Similarly, I also have my life ambition. My ambition is to become a teacher.

From the local community leader, Cherry Wai heard about KT Care Foundation that they have a program to provide scholarship to people with financial difficulty. She applied immediately and she got it.

Now she is studying remotely in Pathein University majored in English. She studies at home mostly, but she has to go to the university to take exams from time to time. KT Care Foundation covered her tuition fee, travel and accommodation expenses for exams.

She is in her second year now, and her life is full of hope but she never forgets giving, she said:

“I want to be a teacher who can teacher the children. Moreover, I also want to be a company staff. After I graduated, I will let my father retire from his job and I will treat him. I will support my younger brother to become a well-educated person. I will try to become a clever daughter for my father and good elder sister for my brother, and will serve for my family. In addition to this, I will try to work for the development of my community and country. ”

Until now, KT Care Foundation has helped 42 scholarship students like Cherry Wai.

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Myanmar needs help now!

Myanmar is suffering from serious flood and over 200,000 people have been affected across Sagaing, Kachin, Shan, Mandalay, Chin, Rakhine, Kayin, Mon, Bago, Magway, Ayeyarwady and Yangon. At least 27 people died in July as a result of the floods. The number of the flood victims is increasing day by day. They are displaced and their livelihoods are terribly affected in the whole country.

KT Care Foundation donated our first relief items on 5 August responding its urgent needs. Our target area is Magway Division of Pwint Phyu township (for 900 household) and Yaysagyo township.We would greatly appreciate your donations preferably kinds as below.

1. In Kind (e.g. Rice, packet noodle, Blanket, ORS, water purifier etc.) (in Myanmar only)

2. Cash (in Myanmar only)

Please send items/ cash to:

KT Care Foundation

A4-A5, Anawrahta Housing Complex

Pyay Road, Yangon, Myanmar

Telephone: (+951) 527516, (+959) 49343378

3. Online Payment/ Bank Transfer (Myanmar/ International)

Please find at :http://www.ktcare.org/donate/

We will update our progress time to time.

As of 4th August

If you’d like to know more about gallery you can check out Facebook at –

https://www.facebook.com/ktcarefoundation/posts/803453489768536