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The Peoples Partner...

Issue Nº1 - April 2008
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“voices of peoples and communities”

This e-newsletter features the various programs and projects developments of Peoples Partner for Development and Democracy (PPDD)

INTRODUCTION

PPDD

PPDD - Peoples Partner for Development and Democracy... ... “empowering peoples and communities” PPDD started in the Philippines in 2002 with a group of young activists and academicians who wanted to address the dismal economic situations of some communities in Manila and in some other parts of Luzon. PPDD worked with communities living in Malabon and Payatas which are considered slum areas. It implemented projects on micro-finance, health and sanitation, women empowerment, gender education, organic farming and community rehabilitation. These projects were in operations for one and a half years and so far had humble successes. After 2 years of operation in the Philippines, PPDD transferred its base to Chiang Mai Thailand and this paved the way for the broadening of organizational mission and vision, fields of work and issues of concern. It facilitated the expansion of geographical areas of work of the organization. These changes redefined the nature and scope of the organization. PPDD became a regional organization working in Southeast Asian countries in conflict and in post conflict situations like Burma on issues such as human rights, social movements, development, democracy and peace. PPDD has two offices, one in Maesot Thailand which is the base of the organization and a branch office in the Philippines in Manila. Peoples Partner for Development and Democracy (PPDD) is a regional organization working mostly in Southeast Asian countries in conflict and in post conflict situations. It was formed to help address stressful poverty and developmental related problems of local people and communities living in Southeast Asia affected by war, victims of cruelties, injustices and oppressions under repressive governments and are in the process of democratization by providing human rights, sustainable and rights based approach to development and political training and education that promotes the building and proliferation of peaceful and democratic societies. PPDD puts special consideration and attention to the most vulnerable sectors of society i.e. children, youth and women, and the marginalized sectors (the indigenous peoples) as beneficiaries. PPDD’s prime vehicle in realizing its mission is “empowering people and
“voices of peoples and communities”

communities” through capacitating and raising Livelihood for the Communities where the their level of awareness on the ways and means school programs are located and processes of resolving problems that affect Training Programs their lives. As an organization it has its local, regional and international partner organizations, individual supporters and it is also a member of international umbrella organizations. PPDD is a member of CLAN – Children’s Legal Advocacy Network and CAP (Children/Youth as Peace Builders) International. The Philippines branch office of PPDD is working closely with its partner organization - CLRDC – Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center (a human rights organization based in the Philippines). In terms of financial support for 2007 - 2008, the organization receives financial assistance from May 18 Foundation (an organization based in South Korea); TSUKI (a meditation center based in the Netherlands); CAP International; Humanitarian Committee University of Utrecht, The Netherlands; Laughing for Life (a French circus group); Thaimes Bar and Restaurant (a business establishment based in Maesot Thailand); the Eekhof Family (Leiden, The Netherlands); Mr. Eugene Leader (Russian –American supporter and board member of PPDD); and Ms. Erin Nicholson (an Australian individual supporter). PPDD wishes to extend its heartfelt gratitude and wants to say thank you to all these people and organizations for their continuous support. The following are PPDD current Programs and Projects; Children Alternative School Programs • Light School 1: Alternative School for Burmese Stateless and Displaced Children along the Thai-Burma border, Maesot Thailand • Up-coming - Light School 2: Alternative School for Burmese Stateless and Displaced Children along the China-Burma border, Maijayang Kachin State, Burma • Up-coming - Ashram School: Alternative School for Displaced. Marginalized and Less Fortunate Dalit Children from Koran Tahsil, Madhya Pradesh State, India Community Organizing and Development Projects • Micro-Finance and Savings – Community Based “Bayanihan” Banking Program/Center: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Conflict Resolutions and Transformation Basic and Advanced Political Education Democracy and Democratizations International Human Rights Laws, Standards and Mechanisms Organizational Development and Management Basic Diplomacy and Human Rights Courses Human Rights Reporting and Fact-Finding Fundraising and Project Proposal Writing Strategic Campaigning and Advocacy Media and Publicity Work Sustainable and Human Rights Approach to Development Women and Environment Transitional Justice Political Training Community Development and Organizing Leadership Micro-finance and savings Campaign and Advocacy on Children’s Rights, Business and Human Rights, Political and Democratic Issues

Other and General Services • Research and Technical Writing • Policy Advocacy, Lobbying and Campaign Media Work and Networking • Fundraising • Preparation and Formulation of Educational/ Training Curricula and other paper works related to it • Political Work

Children of the Light School

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News Brief

Children’s Legal Advocacy Network (CLAN) and the Anti-Corporal Punishment bill and its campaign

• International Training Course on the Investigation and Prosecution of ExtraJudicial Killings, Enforced Disappearances and Torture (Davao) by Camila Fassarella

Light School in Mae Sot

• AHRA - Asian Human Rights Academy
This project is an international human rights academy designed for individuals who want to work on human rights issues, or who work for the first time on human rights issues and/or are interested in pursuing international human rights studies. The project shall be a three-week activity and shall be held either in Bangkok or in the Philippines, where founding members hold their respective offices. There are two founding member organizations of AHRA, Peoples Partner for Development and Democracy (PPDD) a regional organization based in Thailand with a branch office in the Philippines and the Children Legal Rights Development Center (CLRDC), a legal and human rights based organization based in Manila, Philippines. The three-week training shall delve on discussion and analysis of international human rights instruments, human rights mechanisms and procedures by different human rights system. The goal of AHRA is to enhance and deepen understanding of the international human rights tribunals and how these systems operate and respond to address issues being brought up to them such as those issues that include, but are not limited to, gender justice, poverty, sustainable development, peace, democracy and human rights. Particular attention will be paid to the regional context and current discussion regarding human rights implementation in South East Asia. The program will provide an opportunity for participants to exchange experiences and ideas from their national context and offer a forum for the establishment of a regional human rights network. Participants having completed the programme will gain knowledge in the area of human rights, which can be transferred to national human rights training activities.

• Anti-Corporal Punishment law campaign

DAVAO, Philippines. It’s considered the nation’s cleanest and most child-friendly city and its citizens are proud to say they feel safe walking CLAN (Children’s Legal Advocacy Network) has around without fear of violence, but those seem an ongoing campaign on an Anti-Corporal Punlike pure cover-ups to what the city really hides. ishment Law. Two members, Abegail (from CLRDC) and Camila (from PPDD) are going on The International Training Course on the Investiconstant visits to the Congress, House of Repregation and Prosecution of Extra-Judicial Killings, sentatives, to personally deliver material kits to Enforced Disappearances and Torture held bethe Congressmen and Congresswomen. tween February 29tth and March 2nd showed its The kit contains materials printed by Save the participants a little bit of the truth behind, not Children (Sweden) concerning the bill and anti- only in Davao, but in the whole country. corporal punishment (what it is, why it’s wrong, ways to a positive discipline and the relevant Also, we were given examples of how cases were human rights), and a cover letter in the name of or are being handled in other countries, such as Argentina (Disappearances during the Dirty CLAN. Wars), Spain (genocide cases in Rwanda and Their staff members receive the material, and Guatemala) and America and Torture plus, orthrough them, we can gain an idea if the response ganizations’ cases such as the ICC and its view on is positive or if they are more interested in pass- Command Responsibility and ICRC’s Privileged ing other types of bills. Luckily, there have been Communication. some positive responses from the staff, and we have already received replies through phone calls or fax, and have received requests for the bill itself. Since it’s costly to send it to every Congressman, the bill will only be forwarded to those who express interest. We have also received some tips from the staff on who to contact and who might be interested. Also, as of March 12th, some Congressmen and women have given feedback and seem truly interested in sponsoring the bill. We even had a meeting with the chief of staff of one in particular, who should give us a feedback from his Congressman soon. Hopefully, soon enough, there will be Congressmen intensively interested in the rights of the children and those who will sponsor our bill to end the suffering of thousands (if not millions) of children in the country who are constant victims of different types of maltreatment.
-- Camila Fassarella

One dared to say that the biggest proof of the existence of freedom of expression in the country is that there are still media killings happening, and it was not said as a joke. Although most agree that shouldn’t be the case. Each and every lecture showed us that oppression leads the people nowhere; it actually leads the whole population to live in constant fear. And those living in fear will have no courage of ever trying to stand up for their rights; a population living in fear will never develop. A population in fear will lead a country to stagnation, because they are too afraid to ever try anything new.

PPDD Philippine - Manila Office Coordinator

It was interesting to relate those facts and decisions made by the lawyers, the presentation of the cases to what we see during human rights work, outside the court and also from what we read in newspapers – those who solved the case or investigated the case were there, they knew the whole story and could show us how the process un- The primary objective of the training is for the folded. participants to be able to apply their leanings from their training in their respective work to The Philippines still has a long way to go until it further strengthen the human rights advocacy for can be described as a country with complete free- social change. dom of expression, without fear of retaliation, from whoever it may be. But the participants of the training, most of them prosecutors, showed faith that there is hope and they’re fighting for it.
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PPDD in action... the Light School and its development
The “Alternative Education and Community Development for Stateless and Displaced Children along the Burmese border, Mae Sot, Thailand” is one of the main programs of PPDD. This project aims to provide basic education, safer conditions, child-friendly environment, critical and analytical teaching methods for displaced and stateless children. The project has been in operation for over one (1) year and 2 months now and is catering to 120 stateless children from Burma which will for sure increase in number in the coming school year (2008-2009). The school currently has six (6) teachers, one cook and a project coordinator working together to run the school. The school is located a few kilometers outside of Mae Sot.

expanding the school to accommodate more children which is expected to increase in terms of number by next school year. • A well had been constructed for the school to have a regular water supply and a water tank was provided as well. • Uniforms both for the Light School teachers and the 120 kids were provided. • A motor bike for the school to be used by the school project coordinator will be provided as well in the next coming week • The Christmas party and year end party of Light school will be on Dec. 20. It will be a gift giving and fun time for the kids PPDD envisions that this project will not only be a one time thing but will expand in the next coming years. It is currently expanding its activities not only to educational related initiatives but community development and organizing activities as well of which the primary beneficiaries of these are the parents of the pupils/school of the school itself.

Director’s Section: Reflections and Commentaries
• The Different Faces of Human Rights Violations in Burma: Atrocities Committed Against the Children in Burma By Anna Malindog (Human Rights Activist working for Burma) Working for Burma, a country bleeding and suffering from the claws of the “Burmese Army, the Tatmadaw” – is quite a challenging experience for me. In as far the country is concern, it is indeed facing acute cases of not only political and economic crises but much more it is confronting social unrest like the massive deterioration of the country’s social and moral fibers being exemplified by the massive and extensive cases of human rights violations committed against the civilian population of the country. Human rights violations and abuses are but common undertakings in Burma. They are too common that they already become part and parcel of the daily life of the peoples of Burma. This has been my realization and observation after several times of visiting and traveling all throughout the country. In as far as my journey to the different places in Burma is concerned there were two constant scenes I was always confronted with. The first is the war-torn and the hard kind of life that peoples of Burma is facing especially in ethnic areas. The other one is the atrocities and human rights violations and abuses committed against children in Burma and this is the area that I would want to highlight in this article since I am currently working and monitoring on this issue. Burma as a country has been in constant conflict since independence from Britain in 1948. Internal civil war and poor governance has brought about widespread poverty, poor health care, low educational standards and systematic human rights abuses. Children are among the most vulnerable members of society, have been disproportionately affected by all these factors. Children in Burma are increasingly vulnerable to different kinds of exploitations. These include dangerous and forced labor, trafficking, portering, recruiting child soldiers, imprisoning children in labor and military camps, and sex assaults against children. A growing number of children between 10 to 14 years old are engaged in paid work and there are a growing number of street children in concentrated urban areas. As the economic conditions continue to deteriorate in Burma, children are often needed to work alongside their parents in order to raise enough income for the family. Other children are forced to work to support themselves, after losing one or both parents. Children are frequently seen working in teashops, and begging to supplement their family income. In addition to working to support their families, children, like adults, are often pressed into service to carry out forced labor for the military. I have seen this horrible scenario when I was traveling around the country.
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The school serves meals for children and takes care of the health. It asks health and medical related assistance from Mae Tao Clinic, a partner institution of Light School. The teachers of Light School for over a year of being together developed a sense of camaraderie, friendship and care for the school and their students. They have a harmonious relationship as colleagues and workers and they live together in the school since they The project generally consists out of 5 phases are being provided by PPDD with quarters/rooms and place to live inside the school compound. • Phase 1: Building of the new school and the provision of necessary educational and teachThey are happy being at the school and are really ing materials and facilities committed in their work. Each teacher has his/her own responsibilities to observe and the head master supervises and is ensuring that these responsi- • Phase 2: Opening of the school, education of local youth and guidance for teachers and the bilities are fulfilled in lieu of the daily operations school, and implementation of certain alternaof the school. The parents of the children are very tive teaching methods happy that their children have access to education. They believe that education is important for their children to have a better life in the future. • Phase 3: Active involvement of the community, awareness-raising on human rights, comThey believe that knowledge is power. munity education, introducing community development activities and projects will faciliLS Developments tate improvement of local conditions and reduce child labor in the area • Light School was provided with a play ground complete with recreational facilities for kids. • Phase 4: Legal Assistance to Stateless Children • PPDD and CLRDC (Children’s Legal Rights Development Center) confirmed its partnership in trying to provide legal assistance to the pupils of Light School in trying to provide and look for ways and mechanism for these stateless children to have legal status and identity in their own country or in other countries. • The school built a new toilet to accommodate the growing number of children coming to Light School. • Students are doing an excellent academic performance. All grade levels generally speaking are progressing in each of the subjects offered by the school. • PPDD rented another piece of land just beside the existing school area and facilities for 5 years. A new school was built just besides the first school building. This is for the purpose of • Phase 5: Expansion of the school operation to higher grade level and continued community development and organizing and human rights education of the community

Closing ceremony of Light School for school year 2007-2008

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On the other hand, the military regime forcibly conscripts and uses children as forced laborers on infrastructure development projects, income generating projects for the military, and to provide support for military operations. Forced labor includes such work as portering, road construction, sanitation and building maintenance for military camps, building construction, acting as messengers and various other chores for military personnel. Widespread poverty has also led to a growing number of children from Burma being trafficked into prostitution and street begging. In the face of extreme economic hardship, some parents sell their children, because they believe that the child will have a better life elsewhere, or because they are desperate for the small amount of money paid by the trafficker. As a consequence, children who are sold into prostitution suffer both emotional and physical trauma, in the immediate context and long term. Thailand is the primary destination of trafficking from Burma. These young prostitutes are not adequately educated about sexually transmitted diseases and customers who pay more for a virgin girl are rarely willing to use a condom. Child prostitutes are often held against their will after being sold into prostitution and do not receive adequate food or health care and live in physically insecure situations where they fear bodily harm from both their employers and customers. If a girl is no longer profitable because of pregnancy or disease she is often turned out on the street. Moreover, ethnic minority children are often more vulnerable to abuse due to the fact that civil war is often drawn along ethnic lines and fought in ethnic minority areas. In most cases, children living in ethnic minority areas, like other members of their communities, continued to be subjected to physical injury, torture, rape, murder, forced labor, and forced relocation. Children in these areas were also forced to witness atrocities carried out against their family and community members; to endure separation from their families and communities; and to suffer from extremely limited access to health care, education, housing, and food.

Staff in Focus
Eugene Leader... making a difference in lives of Burmese Stateless Children in Thai and China – Burma border…

My name is Eugene Leader. I was born in Moscow, Russia in 1983 and moved to Boston, USA in 1993. I discovered poker during college and stunned my family with my decision to take a break from school with only a year to go in order to see the world and to play poker professionally. My work is unique in many ways. I have a lot of free time and since most of my play is through the Internet, I am never committed to staying in one place. Another unique aspect of playing poker professionally is that is provides no benefit to society. This has bothered me for a while and has led to my involvement in wanting to help others in need. In summer and fall of 2006 I tried to sponsor and build a small, family-style orphanage four hours north of Kiev, Ukraine. After three months of running into disappointing dead ends which resulted from dealing with corrupt government and religious officials, I gave up on the idea. In fall of 2007 I stumbled upon, and eventually joined, the PPDD during my two month trip to the Thai-Burma border city of Mae Sot. I began as a volunteer English and Music (recorder) teacher at nearby schools and discovered PPDD and Light School when I heard that it was in need of a second building and so I decided to help out. I was also immediately impressed with the unique atmosphere and global curriculum of the school and I said to myself that I wanted to contribute to either expanding it further, or to the creation of other schools like it. I was also surprised to find out that my favorite bar in the area, Thaimes Bar, was actually a non-profit bar. It was founded by the PPDD at the same time as the Light School in order to support its operating costs. Soon after, Anna Malindog, the Executive Director, a Filipino human right activist flew in from Istanbul Turkey and from Europe from her post graduate studies and we discovered that she and I shared many common view points and interests. I was overly excited when she and the others offered me to join the PPDD organization.

ment. I am currently in the process of doing fund raising for the school here in Boston. On top of the great feeling that comes with knowing that I am helping out with a great cause, I really like living in the remote parts of Asia and getting “away from it all”. I also like adventure and I am expecting many incredible experiences from my second trip. I am extremely excited. I will be able to get more and more involved in similar projects after I finish up my last year for my accounting degree in the upcoming school year.

The new Light School building constructed by the Light School community and Mr. Eugene Leader

In retrospect, as far I am concerned, when you speak about human rights violations of which of different kinds and latency (extensiveness), children being the most vulnerable sector of the Burmese society are most affected. Almost all kinds of human rights abuses that you can name in Burma, you can always see children as victims. This condition is quite alarming and needs immediate action. And I hope that even through this short description on the dismal condition of the human rights situation in Burma contextualized on the plight of the Burmese children, the international community will pay attention to the case of Burma and make some interventions in order to Soon my first big project with the PPDD will stop human rights violations in the country as a begin. The construction of the new “sister whole. school” of the existing Light school will begin in this May and I am heading over to Southeast Asia in late April so that I can help with its develop-

Eugene having fun playing with Light School kids in the new uniforms donated by himself

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Literary Gimmicks
• Poems and arts
The struggles of our people …… We come from different nations Mongolia, India and the Philippines But our problems are the same Land confiscation! Displaced people! Environmental destruction, child labor and militarization Who’s to blame? Who’s to blame? ADB, MNCs, and the World Bank You come to our lands You take away our lands You set-up factories Extract our natural resources Exploit our people and violate our rights You destroy our environment You bribe the authorities to suppress us And when we resist, the police and the military take our lives Chorus 2x: It’s our place! It’s our rights! It’s our people! It’s our homelands! We will fight for our rights! Fresh air and nature… that’s our rights! Water, air, rivers and forests… that’s our rights! So go back Give us back our lands Give us back our freedom Give us back our lives We will not give up We will not give up our rights We will stand and fight (Repeat chorus 2x) Painting made by a 13 year-old Light School Student

Painting made by a 12 year-old Light School Student

Aung San Suu Kyi, Democratic Icon Leader of Burma: Free HER! Painting by Saw Kennedy

Painting by Saw Kennedy

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Give and Thanks
Support Peoples Partner for Development and Democracy (PPDD) initiatives… There are many ways you can get involve: • Make a Donation to any of PPDD activities • Help Build School for Stateless an Displaced kids in China-Burma border and Northeast India • Donate for the Light School Alternative School for Children located at Maesot, Thailand (Thai-Burma border) • Make monthly or recurring donations For more information, please contact: Anna Malindog PPDD Executive Director Email: anna@peoplespartner.org/armalindog@gmail.com
If you are willing to make a donation, our bank account information follows below:

Bank Name: Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited Account Name: Ms. Anna R.D. Malindog Account Number: 390 4 31440 2 Swift Code: BKKBTHBK Bank Address: 125 Changphuak Road T. Sriphoom A. Muang Chiangmai 50200, Thailand Bank Branch: Pratungchangphuak Chiang Mai Branch

Contact Details
Find Peoples Partner for Development and Democracy online:

Staff Members
Got any comments and/or questions regarding our work or the newsletter? Feel free to contact one of our staff members: Anna Malindog (anna@peoplespartner.org) — Executive Director

Official website: http://www.peoplespartner.org Official blog: http://armalindog.blogspot.com Facebook Causes Page: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/58258 Myspace Official Page: http://myspace.com/peoplespartner Orkut Official Community: http://www.orkut.com/Community.aspx?cmm=43393908

Eugene Leader — Funding Coordinator/Board Member Camila Fassarella (camila@peoplespartner.org) — Philippines, Manila Office Coordinator PPDD e-newsletter coordinator Dale Bromley — Training Coordinator

Naing Win — School Program Coordinator

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“voices of peoples and communities”