International Social Work and Philanthropy

Recharging emotional and spiritual batteries on a regular basis helps us all to be more observant, thankful and balanced.  International social work is one of the many ways to do this.  From helping to build or supply schools, to assisting in developing models for building financial support of marginalized groups, this recharges our batteries.

Penang, Malaysia
In April 2014 we visited with human services and counseling organizations serving the people of Northern Malaysia.  We were impressed with the level of skill and commitment of all, especially the students and interns.  Here, Julieann mugs with social services students in Georgetown, Penang. Students 

Yangon, Myanmar
In November 2012 we visited with the Staff of Aung San Suu Kyi at her offices in Yangon, Myanmar.  The Center has agreed to assist in the development and editing of English language materials that promote democratic principles while teaching English as a second language.  This is a simple beginning, but we anticipate a long and productive relationship in the years aheadIMG_3466IMG_3432IMG_3455NewFriends

Medikur Village, Rural India
Along with our friend Ashish Solanki, in December 2012, we traveled outside Fatehpur Sikri to the Medikur Village to view the school and determine how we might help out.  Our initial work consisted of providing textbooks and learning supplies.  A technology needs assessment and plan are next up.Medikur4Medikur2Medikur1

Lok Samiti, Rural India
December 2012 we found ourselves in the rural villages outside Agra.  Lok Samiti has organized an NGO to educate children who otherwise would have no education and be enslaved to the fields.  They have developed 9 well run rural schools as well as a number of social services systems.  Of particular interest is their leadership role in fighting the local Coca-Cola plant that continues to syphon off their farming water.  While there is progress, it is slow to come…but community organizing is starting to generate cracks in the Coca-Cola administration locally.Lok2Lok1Lok3
Laos
This is a Hmong Village located about 200 Kilometers northwest of Luang Prabang, Peoples Democratic Republic of Laos. We had the good fortune to work with these gentle villagers to build sanitation systems for the school.  These Hmong are among those who sided with the Americans during the “Secret” war in Laos, and as a result have been marginalized by the ruling regime.

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Hmong Mountain Village
The children of the school were fun and playful. Here Julieann is distributing supplies. It began rather orderly but then got a little out of control.Asia-05c 216

Kingdom of Cambodia
We had a fascinating time at the Siem Reap school working with the teachers, teachers aides and their students. The children had eyes as big as the nearby lake. This was a school needs assessment and supply mission in the Kingdom of Cambodia.Asia-05b 331

Democratic Republic of Vietnam
We trekked high in the mountains above Lao Cai to visit the Hmong of Vietnam, just outside Sa-Pa and near the southern border of mainland China. Here we met this young boy, alone miles from anywhere, herding a group of water buffalo to market.IMGP3688

Luang Prabang, Laos
These playful children attend the village school just a quarter mile down from the Mekong River in Luang Prabang in Northern Laos. They loved soccer, and their idea of what the school needed was “more soccer balls”Asia-05c 066

SaPa Northernmost Vietnam
A Benefit of travel to this area is the shopping!HmongShoppers

In a Cambodian Classroom
This is an example of the typical Cambodian classroom in rural areas.  While cities benefit from somewhat greater resources, the rural schools generally have little more than a chalkboardAsia-05c 223

New Friends
Items such as pencils, pens, notebooks, learning toys, reading materials in various languages, toothbrushes, first aid supplies are all needed.Asia-05c 181

Siem Reap, Cambodia
Julieann playing word games and telling stories with enthusiastic children.  These children enjoyed making photographs of themselves and their friends to share with their parents Games

North Vietnam
Understanding industrial arts of the Hmong requires going “all-in”Clothes1

Dinner with the Village Elders, Laos
After a long and productive time with Liter Silatikoun (on our second visit to Laos), his village elders invited us into their home for  a feast and traditional Baci ceremony to commemorate our return to LaosElders

Rural Cambodia
Here we are being introduced by Pich Sauvrin to the teachers, administrators and children at the Airport Road School. Study supplies and equipment to launch organized competitive sports with neighboring villages became the thrust of our work here.Teach1

A Good Friend in Laos
Liter Silautikoun and Julieann talk over ways to build upon early successes high in the Laotian jungleLiter

Morning Alms
Sunrise with the Monks.  These monks retrieve their entire day’s supply of food from the town’s people at 5:30 a.m. each day.  And while “sticky rice” is highly preferred, we noticed they enjoyed a candy bar too!Alms

Tonle Sap, Cambodia
This is the common method of transportation from home to school for the students of Tonle Sap.  The school is built on pontoons and tree trunks to protect from the monsoon rise of the lake.Schbus

Black Hmong of SaPa, Vietnam
We met by accident, by simply bumping into Paj and Mia  while exiting an alleyway.  They became friends and we were fortunate enough to learn a good deal about the roles and responsibilities of young people in Northern Vietnam.  They had a particular dislike of the “wife market” where young men go to select a wife.Twins

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