Mogok Sein Phoo crystal donation
For those thinking that doesn’t seem like much, $165 translates to roughly 300,000 Kyat (local currency) and that amount bought 25 bags of rice that weigh 12 kilos each. That’s 300 kilos or 660 pounds of rice!
While I had requested the donation be given to miners and their families, this donation went to a local orphanage.
While this was the smallest donation we have made to-date, it was the most difficult. The people of Myanmar are under tremendous stress from the local authorities. Checkpoints and roadblocks are scattered around Mogok, and the locals are continuously stopped, questioned and searched - including cell phones - for anything the government considers ‘inappropriate.’
Something as simple as a donation coming from the US can be viewed negatively and cause a lot of problems for the local who was facilitating it. For this reason, we proceed very cautiously in Myanmar.
We still have the $2000 from the fundraiser we did last September. Each time we have tried to send the money, we have been told to wait - that now is not a good time. Updates will be provided as we receive new information. The $165 we just sent was small enough that our contacts felt comfortable working with it; larger amounts are just too problematic. Now that we were able to successfully get the $165 to them, it might well be the case that we can make several smaller donations to get the $2000 in their hands. We will explore this possibility and post updates.
Thank you for reading, The Team at Joe Henley Rough & Gemstones
Given the backdrop of military rule, suppression, and persecution of the people, we still decide to source gems and rough from Myanmar - how could we not…… Look for part 2 of our blog on doing business in Mogok, Myanmar (Burma) soon.