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Shan State Earthquake Relief Project

By The Best Friend  •  March 31, 2011

As many of you are already aware, a large earthquake (6.8 magnitude) occurred last Thursday evening in eastern Shan State. The quake was strong enough that we could feel it at our library in Chiang Mai. Luckily, there were no deaths and no major damage here in Chiang Mai. However, the number of casualties in Shan State is believed to be more than 200. A number of townships suffered widespread destruction, and hundreds — possibly thousands — of villagers were injured and have lost their homes.

The emergency response from the ‘government’ in Burma has been very slow and characteristically paranoid. Burma’s leaders are more concerned with limiting access to to journalists and relief workers than making sure the people who need help receive it quickly. Similar to the regime’s response after Cyclone Nargis in 2008, the government is requesting that international organizations only donate directly to the central government, but as we have learned in the past, it is unwise to trust the regime to deliver donated aid fully and efficiently.

Here at The Best Friend, we are working quickly to implement an ambitious fundraising campaign to raise money for organizations that have direct access to the affected areas in Shan State, and can help the people inside: the Shan State Earthquake Relief Project.

We have designed and produced a new fundraising t-shirt for the Shan State Earthquake Relief Project. The design is attached for you to see. The shirts are 100% cotton, professionally sewn and screened, and available in sizes S, M, L, XL.

There are several ways to purchase the shirt and demonstrate your support for the people affected by the earthquake:

• Internationally: through our website via our Online Shop, shirts are $14 each
• in Chiang Mai: shirts will be available at our library starting Monday 4 April for 280 baht each
• in Mae Sot: shirts will be available at our Peace Café starting Saturday 9 April for 280 baht each
• in Thailand (other cities): order by sending an e-mail to chiangmai@thebestfriend.org.
We will send you our bank transfer details.

100% of the proceeds from the sale of the shirts will be donated to two non-governmental, independent, Shan-led organizations: Shan Women’s Action Network and Metta Tham. Both organizations have excellent contacts in Shan State, transparent accounting practices, and the ability to deliver aid directly to the affected areas.

Additionally, The Best Friend is collecting donations for the Shan State Earthquake Relief project through our website (click here for donations information) and at our library in Chiang Mai.

Our fundraising goal is at least $1,500 (45,000 baht). We have ordered 100 t-shirts for the first run, and should be able to raise nearly 15,000 baht from the sale of the shirts. We hope to then order a second run of 100 shirts and continue to sell them. However, to reach our goal, we have to ask our friends and supporters to consider making additional donations in person or through our website.

Finally, we hope to see those of you in Chiang Mai next week at Wat Pa Pao, a large Shan temple in the center of Chiang Mai. There will be a large Shan Buddhist novice ordination ceremony (Poy Sang Long) at the temple on Monday and Tuesday, 4–5 April, and The Best Friend will have a booth there. We will be accepting donations, selling the new t-shirts, displaying an exhibit of photos of the earthquake’s aftermath, and distributing other materials.

Thank you for your interest in helping the people affected by the earthquake in Shan State, and we hope to see you wearing a “Shan State Earthquake Relief” t-shirt soon! Please share this information freely with all of your friends, family members, and colleagues.

If you would like to donate for our Shan State Earthquake Relief Project, please send the donation via PayPal to shop@thebestfriend.org, and include a note with your donation.
Thank you!

click here to order the t-shirt online >>
click here to order a t-shirt via e-mail (only for those in Thailand) >>
click here to download the Shan State Earthquake Relief Project flyer

If you have any questions regarding the Shan State Earthquake Relief Project, please e-mail chiangmai@thebestfriend.org.

Photos courtesy Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)

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