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Burma Issues Charity Profile
The Peaceway Foundation was formed in February 2002. It operates as an umbrella organisation, under which is a project called Burma Issues. BI has operated since 1990. The formation of the Peace Way Foundation allowed us to be a recognised and registered organisation with the Thai Government. By becoming a Foundation our organisation has obtained legal status and ensured greater security for the work we do. One of the aims in forming the Foundation was also to allow us to expand our work and our ideology into other areas and countries, not to be secular in our work, but to strive to help build a global grassroots movement.
The organisation was initially founded in 1990 and acts as a private, non-profit organisation devoted to a peaceful resolution to Burma's struggle for human rights and democratic rule. We are non-partisan and do not advocate, campaign for or represent any leaders, political parties or ideologies as solutions to Burma's civil strife.
The Peaceway Foundation is unique in that we focus on the marginalised communities living in the war zones of Burma as the target group for building a peace based on justice for everyone. Our approach is based on concepts of community organising and empowerment of these marginalised communities. We are firmly committed to nonviolent forms of peacemaking and conflict transformation.
As of the year 2002, Burma has suffered more than fifty years of armed conflict and forty years of one-party military rule. Despite growing international awareness of human rights abuses throughout the country, the resolution of Burma's conflicts and the strengthening of its democratic civil society will be a long-term struggle. This struggle must be nurtured and led by the people of Burma themselves, and international support for political change only will not help address the social and cultural aspects of the conflict.
The civil war has disrupted the lives of people all over the country, but has had an especially devastating effect on people living in the distant rural areas which lie along the border lines between Burma and its neighbours. These people are isolated from the rest of the country with little or no access to information and no chance to participate in the political and economic life of the country. They have little opportunity for education, health care, jobs, and adequate food supplies.
The Peaceway Foundation believes that the civil war in Burma is caused by chauvinism that can be found in all levels of society and among all groups. Chauvinism is an attitude or belief that an individual or specific group has the right to dominate another individual or group with the purpose of dividing the people, preventing their solidarity and fomenting discrimination and mistrust. This chauvinism feeds the forces of militarism and perpetuates violence in all areas of society including ethnicity, religion and gender.
Burma Issues Volunteer Information
Volunteers Peace is not simply viewed as an end of the present physical violence against various sectors of Burma's people which could possibly be achieved through cease fires, but rather as the identification of the root causes of war and conflict within the country and solutions to those root causes which allow all parties and groups to live in harmony and with mutual respect and dignity.
To reach there goals, Burma Issues is committed to building a long-term people-based movement which places a priority on village-level wisdom, experience, culture and needs. We firmly believe that such a movement must be started with the most marginal of the country's people and then expanded to higher levels of society until all are able to participate to their fullest ability and capacity. The building of a truly just and peaceful society is not a top-down process, but rather a movement from the grassroots up.
There are many opportunities within The Peace Way Foundation for volunteers to use their work skills. At the present volunteers can help with publications, database and documentation entry, computers, and english language training. Typically the Peace Way Foundation has two types of volunteers:
Foreign volunteers sent by international organisations
Some international organizations arrange for volunteers to spend time with the Peace Way Foundation. The length of time depends on the organization. Occasionally they are short-term placements of a few months, others stay for one or more years. The policies which govern financial support, living conditions and vacation differ with each organization. The Peace Way Foundation allows volunteers to work under their own organizations policies, but urges volunteers to try and keep their living situation as consistent with other Burma Issues' staff as possible in order to prevent misunderstandings.
Some foreigners, whether they are interested in the struggle in Burma or have little knowledge of the situation, approach the Peace Way Foundation as an independent volunteer. The Peace Way Foundation will work out, together with the volunteer, what basic financial support they will need during their time with the Peace Way Foundation. This generally includes food, simple accommodation and transportation. While the Peace Way Foundation is willing to provide some financial support to volunteers it also encourages independent volunteers to work, prior to arriving to the Peace Way Foundation, at ways of creating their own financial sustainability.
Burma Issues Donation Information
Help support the ongoing work of Peace Way Foundation by making an online donation. Any amount, however large or small, provides vital support to our struggle for peace and justice in Burma. And all the money we receive goes directly to furthering our activites and projects.