Letter From Holly

Dear All,

Part of my work in Melbourne as a pro bono lawyer for people from the Mekong Region has brought me into contact with many Burmese who have come to Australia on humanitarian grounds. Over time, visiting Burma seemed like a natural ‘next step’.

Then, when I visited Burma for the first time, I felt an instant and strong connection with the people. Why? Burma reminds me of the Vietnam where I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s. The Burmese are overwhelmingly friendly and gracious. The Burmese children in particular, stole my heart.

As you would know, Burma has been an isolated country for a long time and, of course, this has impacted on the country itself as well as the Burmese people. As I moved around the countryside, savouring the exquisite scenery and enjoying the company of the locals, the obvious poverty affected me enormously. This prompted me to take action. And because the plight of so many Burmese children touched me so deeply, I decided to make them my focus.

Although many Burmese families cannot afford to pay school fees, or buy books and stationery, they value education and want the best for their children. I was also shocked to discover that many children living in Burmese orphanages are not orphans; they are there because their parents see that this is the way to give them the best chance possible – a chance to attend school.

I know that my education has provided me with choices and opportunities I would not have had otherwise. I feel passionately that Burmese children and young people should have access to similar opportunities. More than that, I feel it is important for them to have the opportunity to attend school without being separated from their families - without having to live in an orphanage.

Since Burma opened its borders in 2011, after the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, it has become one of the most visited destinations in the world. Why not make this work in support of the Burmese children?

Beyond Myanmar – a specialist travel agency that operates in partnership with local Burmese travel agents to offer custom holidays and travel adventures in Burma. Part of the profits from this venture will go to selected charitable projects in Burma that support children to attend school.

I invite you to contribute to this important social enterprise, both directly and indirectly. I encourage you to visit the Beyond Myanmar website at www.beyondmyanmar.com.au – plan a trip and visit Burma yourself, experience this glorious country, the culture and the people.

And I ask you to promote this travel website – email this website to your own friends and colleagues, talk about it on Facebook, send a tweet, blog about it. Getting the message out will ensure that Beyond Myanmar is able to achieve its aim of providing a holiday experience that you will remember for the rest of your life and provide vital support to those in need at the same time.

If you have any queries, please email me on info@beyondmyanmar.com.au

Best regards,

Holly Mullaney

Travel Specialists Myanmar