Burma Humanitarian Mission

Fall Newsletter 2012


Our friends with the Backpack Medics are busier than ever, despite the news of reforms in Burma.  They now have 10 additional teams in the field, for a total of 95. In the first six months of this year, the teams treated nearly 48,000 people, including 12 children under the age of 5 for gunshot wounds.  Pneumonia and malaria continue to be the leading diseases.

The violence in Karen State has decreased, but it has not ceased.  Between March and June, the Burma army unit shot at villagers on at least 3 occasions. The army continues to plant landmines that have long-term devastating effects.  While the army has agreed in principal to a ceasefire, it is using this time to reinforce its units with food and ammunition.  More troublesome is that companies are using the ceasefire as a means to move into Karen State, seizing land for development and mining, logging and constructing dams without the consent of the Karen people.  The Karen are forced from their home and land and given no compensation.

In Kachin State, conditions are worse.  70,000 people have fled their homes in the face of the Burma army’s violence.  While China has permitted 7,000 refugees to find sanctuary, it has not permitted humanitarian assistance to reach these people.  As in Karen State, the army’s focus in Kachin State appears to be seizing land for development. 

It remains clear that Burma Humanitarian Mission’s support will continue to be in high demand for the foreseeable future.  Due to the determined and compassionate support of so many people, we provided 1 million doses of medicine this year – the first time we’ve reached this milestone!



Mary brings over 25 years of health care related business services and management experience to her role as Treasurer of the Board of BHM. She has volunteered with BHM since 1999 and has supported many of our grass-roots fundraising efforts. Mary spearheads Burma Save Soap and youth outreach.  Read more about Mary here.



RUN FOR REFUGEES -- Thank you for making the Run for Refugees such a great success.  Gratitude to Dianna Marshall, Adolfo Ovalos, Elizabeth Setterberg, members of the Myanmar Community of Utah, Nichole and Gentry Mishkin and to all of the volunteers who contributed at the race.  Thank you especially to our top two fundraisers – Gerald Brown and Izzy Witte.  Together team ‘GerIzzly Bears’ raised almost half of the proceeds to benefit MICU.

Save the date for June 22nd, 2013, for the second Run for Refugees at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City. 

Our organizing committee will begin meeting in January of 2013 to begin planning to support refugees from Burma resettled here in the US as well as to provide scholarships to refugee youth in Thailand.  Please let us know if you’d like to be involved in planning this fun event or read about it here.


BORDER TRAVEL -- We will revisit BHM the Thai-Burma border in May of 2013.   We are thrilled to announce that George Cathcart will be joining us in the role of photographer.  George has traveled the world as a nature photographer and photojournalist.  His photography emphasizes the connections between humans and the planet we share with each other.  You can see his work on his website.


TEES FOR REFUGEES -- During this June’s World Refugee Day in concert with the Utah Refugee Coalition, we started a program for children to decorate tee shirts that will be sent to the children of Umpiem Mai Refugee Camp in Thailand. Children learn that their efforts can make a positive difference in the lives of others is extremely powerful.

MCM -- For the fifth year in a row, the Run for Burma team entered runners in the in the Marine Corps Marathon and its 10k . We registered 38 marathoners and 6 10k athletes from 14 states. Together, they ran over 18,000 miles in preparation for the event – and raised over $22,000! We’d be remiss if we didn’t highlight Andee Weinfurhter as our top fundraiser -- and Matt Smallcomb as our fastest marathoner with a time of 3:04! Muchas Gracias to Francisco and his band of friends – Jesus, Luis, Arturo and Elisa – who joined us again this year from Mexico to go the distance.

AUDIT 2011 HIGHLIGHTS -- 87% of all of our funds are dedicated to our programs, according to HBMl of Salt Lake City reviewed our books again this year. They certified that we are in good standing and meet General Accepted Accounting Principles. While the foks at HBM are so kind to discount BHM for their services, the cost of the audit --which enables us to participate in the Combined Federal Campaign -- is one of our largest non-program expenses. If you know any Certified Accountants who could dopro-bono or discounted work, we would greatly appreciate the introduction.

FLASHBACK -- 10 years ago we made the documentary Backpacking Health Workers in Burma.  The video gives a short history of the conflict-zone and introduces the heroic efforts of the teams we support using historic photographs and footage shot during our second medical mission to the Thai-Burma border. 

Copies of the DVD are available from BHM.    Narrated by Jeremy, it is a poignant time capsule back to the time he was with us in person.  



MARY & DAVE NICELY -- In celebration of their 30th Wedding Anniversary, Mary and Dave honored BHM.   You have both been such wonderful supporters of BHM and the people of Burma in so many ways.  We all wish you many more years of joy in your life together.


PRESTAN PRODUCTS -- In August, the Backpack medics urgently needed CPR manikins to improve the quality of their training so new and experienced medics can practice CPR techniques before they are in a life-or-death situation.  We reached out to a number of organizations for assistance.  The American Red Cross connected us with Prestan Products, who donated adult and child CPR manikins.  A special thanks to Dan at Prestan Products for the donation.


LAUREN PEACOCK -- Thank you to Lauren Peacock for your service.  Lauren is leaving our board to focus on her career responsibilities as a teacher and her expanding family.  During her tenure as treasurer Lauren provided support to Jen in preparation for our first financial audit.  She also volunteered for the inaugural Run for Refugees, World Refugee Day and the screening of Into the Current at the Salt Lake City.


BROOKS SPORTS -- Thank you to Justin at Brooks Sports for securing the awesome Run for Burma technical t-shirts – for the 5th year in a row!




We need to raise $2500 more to receive $12,000 in matching funds from the Transparent Fish Fund.

Please help us by making a donation before the end of December through this link to their website: 


Your tax-deductible donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar, doubling the impact of your contribution.



Burma Humanitarian Mission is part of the Combined Federal Campaign for 2012!  We are charity #83075.  If you are part of the federal government – or know someone who is – CFC is a great way to show support with a monthly donation.



We are once again fortunate to be part of Alternative Gifts International’s 2012-2013 campaign. 

AGI offers a unique and inspired means for youth and adults to honor a family member or dear friend with a gift donation that secures a tangible benefit for children around the world.  If your place of worship, school, youth or social group would be interested in hosting one of AGI’s seasonal fairs, let us know and we’ll connect you with them!



Order now for the holidays.  Suggested donation of $6.00 each or 20 for $100 plus shipping.  Bars are decorative and deliciously scented – tuberose moss, lavender, sandalwood, chai tea and blackberry sage are available.  Either email Jen or go to our website for more details.






Thank you to those who reviewed BHM at Great Nonprofits. 

Please visit their site and write one of your own!


“I've known the folks who work at Burma Humanitarian Mission for a number of years. It's incredible how they do so much with so little! More importantly, they have this wonderful way of connecting donors and compassionate individuals here in the United States with people in the jungles of Burma -- and making you feel like you are making a great impact on their lives and the world!” – Eric G.