FCM NETWORKS


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HOW IT ALL BEGAN

FCM was founded in 2005 when a group of students from London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) spent a summer working with UNICEF-trained childcare professionals in Yangon.

It began by visiting childcare centres around Yangon and donating bare essentials such as clothes, soap and toothpaste. The first fundraising event was held inside the university common room, selling homemade Burmese cake for 50p a piece. What followed were Burmese charity dinners, film screenings, Burmese trinket sales, talks and cultural events.

After graduation, we decided to continue FCM work on top of pursuing careers or further education. The website was launched in 2008, we signed our trust deed in 2009 and finally registered as a UK charity in 2010. Today we are an organisation with UK charity status, Burmese staff, and a group of extremely dedicated supporters and volunteers in the UK, Burma and elsewhere.

Our initial goals were focused on relief work and providing teacher training to childcare centres that were brimming with needy children. They had few resources and little if any training. Since those early beginnings, our mission has expanded to include income generation and providing tools for self-sufficiency. FCM launched an agricultural project, brought clean water to communities and offered vocational training for children who have since become young adults.



Our Name
The name 'Friends of the Children Myanmar' was chosen by our Burmese volunteers in 2005. We lifted the Burmese word for friend, pronounced mei' hswei to become part of our logo. Incorporating Burmese was important to symbolise the collaborative nature of FCM between the UK and Burmese teams. The script is read from left to right and has rounded letters called sa loun: due to the traditional use of leaves for writing.


Our Team - Myanmar
Our Burma staff are Samuel who is the Yangon coordinator, and Su our finance officer. Nyein manages the weekly volunteer programme for local students. Other core members include Naing Lin Win, Htoi San, and Ja. They are all graduates of a university in Yangon and now work as teachers, relief workers, in business or are pursuing further study. In addition to speaking Burmese, they are also fluent in various regional dialects and English.

The Myanmar Team members recruit local university student volunteers and organise activities for Yangon's childcare centres. They work with the assistance and advice of UNICEF-trained child carers, and in their volunteering come across centres that would like more training for staff and/or additional sources of income.


Our Team - The UK
Giorgia, Judy, Leila and Alexis make up the UK Team. They are a human rights lawyer, journalist, graphic designer and accountant. In addition to English, between them they also speak Chinese, German, Spanish, Italian, French, Indonesian, Farsi and Japanese.

The UK Team members are primarily responsible for fundraising and directing work with the Myanmar Team. If you would like to contact any of us, please visit our Contact page.