Patricia Herbert has been a quiet but vital presence in Prospect Burma throughout the lifespan of the charity. She originally offered her services to the group that formed in 1988, as she could read and write Burmese, which no one else within that group was able to do, and she thought, modestly, that this skill might be of benefit.
Patricia lived in Myanmar for three years, while she was working on her thesis which focussed on Burmese nationalism and the peasant’s revolt. At that time Yangon was very different to how it is today. Patricia remembers it as a much sleepier town, with none of the tall skyscrapers which dominate the skyline today. While she was there the government changed the road system, so cars went from driving on the left to the right side of the road overnight, causing nationwide chaos. At that time it was also incredibly difficult to travel around the country, due to numerous internal conflicts.
Patricia has a real passion for education and commitment to the work of PB. She worked incredibly hard from our basement office in Putney, particularly focussing on our scholarships programme, and had an uncanny eye for seeing the young people behind the applications. She managed relationships with students and universities in different parts of the world, and it was very much through Patricia’s vision that the scholarship programme successfully evolved. Behind many of the applications there have always been stories of real hardship, but Patricia somehow always managed to find ways to make sure we were able to support as many deserving students as possible.
Whether in the office or trustee meetings, Patricia was always a patient source of wisdom and, with her many contacts and friends, Prospect Burma was able to develop networks that helped provide the delivery of education of real quality. We are so grateful to Patricia for all the hardwork she so generously offered over many years.