In 2002 the Karen National Union (KNU), at the invitation of the Jubilee Campaign, came to appeal to the British government for help in their desperate situation in the mountains of East Burma (Myanmar). Dr Nash (Steff), who was known for his interest in human rights and helping the poor, was invited to meet the delegation and was moved to make an exploratory trip to Mae Sot on the Thai / Burma border where he was introduced to the Karen Department of Health & Welfare.
For the next 8 years he coordinated 2-week ‘refresher courses’ for Community Health Workers where their skills were enhanced by teaching minor procedures, basic midwifery, emergency dentistry and diagnosing common illnesses. It was during one of those medic training courses in 2006 that Dr Hussain (Martin) realised that the need to train teachers was as urgent as training medics so we embarked on teacher training and building schools in needy areas.
By 2006 it was realised that we needed a legal entity so HOPE 4 the World was born and the work started to expand rapidly. The next milestone was 2010 when ‘Premiere Urgence – Aide Medicale Internationale’ (PU-AMI), a French NGO, became aware of our work and invited HOPE to use their premises in Mae La & Noh Poe camps to train medics. This opened a whole new opportunity and the medic training was able to take off in a remarkable way.
Parallel to this the teacher training programmes in the Karen State and Shan state also began to grow and our impact among the next generation of teachers and ‘influencers’ also took a new direction as access via Yangon opened.
The opportunity to train medics by access to sick patients in hospital and to out-patients clinics resulted in much more effective training. International Rescue Committee (IRC) is also a key player on the boarder and we started partnering with them. Very soon there was an agreed curriculum and an effective partnership developed which included the famous Mae Tow clinic where Dr Cynthia, who has an international reputation, has become an important partners. We meet twice a year in the Education meetings.