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Asia Transpacific Journeys

Field Report - December 2007

A report from the field by Asia Transpacific Foundation founder Marilyn Downing Staff

I have just arrived back in the US from a very gratifying visit to Myanmar (Burma) to review the progress on our Clean Water Initiative. I am excited to report that our accomplishments have far exceeded my expectations. During this last year of operations we have managed to provide clean drinking water filters for approximately 20,000 people. Most of the filters are currently placed at schools, orphanages, monasteries and other public facilities. They have been well received and are the first clean water that most of these people have ever had access to. The reduction in disease and absenteeism has been phenomenal.

We currently have one plant operating on the outskirts of Yangon. This plant employs 25 people and produces up to 100 filter units a day. We are just launching a new production facility up a canal along the Irrawaddy River in Twante, a village that has been producing pottery items for generations. They are very excited about having a new 'line' of pottery, and will be making the filters for us to distribute to villages in the riverside areas.

We provide a strong educational component with each filter provided. We have found that without education on the importance of clean water and the simple techniques for safe use and maintenance of the filter, the filters were not being properly used or valued. We have therefore developed a program that requires participation in an educational class. Then, upon graduation from the class a certificate is issued which entitles the bearer to a water filter system. This "education as currency" is the only way to acquire a filter. UNICEF in Myanmar is now enthusiastically endorsing Asia Transpacific Foundation's water filter and is helping with this educational component, as they have such a fine public health information delivery system already in place.

Our opportunities are great and only limited by our funding. The cost of a simple village based factory to produce the filters is $10,000. One hundred percent of your tax-deductible donation goes directly to the project. Thank you in advance for your donation. This is a rare opportunity to assist the people of Myanmar, a country that refuses most charitable organizations' efforts to help better the lives of their people.

Thanks for all your support.

Marilyn Downing Staff
Founder, Asia Transpacific Foundation