Featured Project: Burma
Leber Jeweler supports the work of groups and individuals who address widespread human rights violations in Burma (renamed Myanmar by the ruling military junta). We founded an effort, the Jewelers Burma Relief Project, that partners with aid groups to provide food and medical assistance to the Burmese people.
One of the aid groups we support is Thai-based Mae Tao Clinic. Brian Leber had the opportunity to take its founder, Dr. Cynthia Maung, to Washington DC. They had a full briefing with Department of State officials and a meeting with Amnesty International. They finished the day at the offices of a young first-term senator, Barack Obama. Shortly after this meeting, then-Sen. Obama spoke about the Burmese humanitarian crisis before the United States Senate. Following is an excerpt from that speech:
“On the outskirts of the town of Mae Sot, Dr. Maung started a makeshift facility to treat her malaria stricken fellow refugees as they began crossing by the thousands into Thailand, following the Burmese junta’s brutal crackdown on the democracy movement in 1988. Mae Tao is now a thriving clinic treating around 70,000 people a year. From providing maternity care and family planning to treating infectious diseases and fitting landmine victims with prosthetics, the Mae Tao clinic represents hope, safety and a brighter future for some of the most vulnerable people in the world. This is a mission we should do everything we can to support.
Dr. Maung’s tireless efforts have not stopped with the Burmese refugee population in Thailand, as she trains medical teams to deliver health services to remote villages in Burma. Unable to return to her homeland, Dr. Maung continues to be a fearless advocate for democracy and justice for the people of Burma—on both sides of the border.
We can and must do more to support this courageous woman, and her work to ensure that the refugee population in Thailand is granted basic rights, including healthcare and education, for all.”