Farewell from our Chairman

Robert Gordon has been the Chairman of the Prospect Burma board of Trustees for seven years. This is his last editorial for our October 2018 Newsletter “Connections”.

On 22 May, Prospect Burma was privileged to take part in HRH The Prince of Wales’ 70th birthday reception for all the charities of which he is Patron. It was a time to take stock of where we’ve reached and what lies ahead.

This will be my last editorial as I step down as chairman after seven years.

These have been years of great change for both Myanmar and for Prospect Burma. 2011 saw the start of long-awaited reform in Myanmar under President Thein Sein and the reentry into active politics of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

As Myanmar was changing, our own charity was also entering a new phase of renovation. Many new internal policies have been developed, in accordance with the changing landscape in which we are working. We have periodically reviewed our strategic objectives to ensure we remain on track, to successfully deliver services while remaining true to our updated Vision, Mission and Values. The charity has been rebranded to enable us to portray clear messaging about our work. In 2015, the UK office moved to a new, larger premises in Victoria, thereby giving us the space we needed to recruit valuable support from a range of talented volunteers. Like many other UK charities, we have updated our legal status to a Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

Our most important step has been to open a Prospect Burma office in Yangon in 2016. This has not only allowed us to assume full control of scholar selection and follow-up but has widened our reach to remote and disadvantaged regions and communities. It has also allowed us to start in-country fundraising, which we hope could become a significant new stream of income.

Of course new challenges have arisen along the way. Chief of these has been the Rohingya crisis in Rakhine State. Over its nearly 30 years of existence, Prospect Burma has borne witness and reacted to many ups and downs in Myanmar’s turbulent history. But our fundamental belief remains unshaken: it is only through the power of education that imaginative solutions can be found to tackle and resolve these difficult civic problems. That is why we should take heart in the stories of connections contained in this issue, stories of resilience and dedication as more students start down the path of self-betterment with the help of Prospect Burma.