May 12, 2008
Hal Nathan, who launched the Foundation for the People of Burma in 1999, was in northern Burma when the cyclone struck. You could say he found himself in the right place at the right time. His non-political charitable organization is devoted to providing humanitarian aid of all sorts to the Burmese people. According to Nathan, what gives his group a leg up in efficiently delivering desperately needed aid is the infrastructure his organization has built over the years.
"We can distribute goods and services through the monasteries and temples and other community centers, and have good relations with people on the ground," he told me this afternoon. His wife and fellow board member, Gail Seneca, adds, "While most foreign aid workers are waiting at the border for visas, the foundation has already mobilized in Rangoon and around the Irrawaddy Delta and is delivering services and food to approximately 8,000 people." With an estimated 1-1/2 million people in need Seneca acknowledges this is just a start, but a good one considering the obstacles aid organizations face. The foundation's existing infrastructure makes it well-positioned to do far more.
If you have difficulty getting to the Foundation's heavily visited home page, you can contact them at the below address and number:
Foundation for the People of Burma
225 Bush Street, Suite 590
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: (415) 217-7015
Fax: (415) 477-2787
We will keep you posted on the foundation's efforts. For now, this is a wonderful way to support the people of Burma in their time of need.
James Shaheen, Editor