Our website has reached another milestone. We have launched our Alpha version to a selected group of people. This Alpha has taken longer than we expected, but, we think we have a website that we can build on in the future. We hope to have the next major release in the end of the summer or early fall.

I am sure all of you heard about the earthquake in China. We have been keeping tabs on the relief & recovery efforts in China. At this point, Jolkona Foundation is trying to assess the situation on the ground, before committing ourselves to any undertaking. The needs are wide ranging – from needing immediate relief material to recupertaing from “loss of a generation” as most of those killed are children. If you would like to contribute something at this moment, we encourage you to do that through Red Cross or Mercy Corps.

We are also in touch with one of our partners – Machik – who has operations in the Sichuan province. They are trying to establish how best they can contribute to the relief efforts. As the details emerge from their investigation, we will be sure to post updates on our blog here. You can see the latest update from Machik here.

As Asia faces two very challenging humanitarian crisis, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Myanmar and China. We will continue to diligently monitor the situation. Finally, we encourage you to help out in any way that you can.

A quick update from us is that we are working hard on the first version of our website. We hope to have the private alpha available later this month to selected few followed by a beta later this summer. As we try hard to finish up the website, we have not been able to keep the blog up-to-date. However, I do want to take few minutes to talk about Cyclone Nargis that recently struck Myanmar.

We had a few people ask us whether we will be organizing another fundraising campaign similar to the one we organized after Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh. You can read about that effort here. We are humbled by the trust people have in us to execute small, but effective relief operations. However, at this point we do not think we will be undertaking any relief efforts in Myanmar. The main reasons are:

  • Governments around the world are having a hard time getting into Myanmar. We do not think we will be able to talk our way into Myanmar.
  • Bangladesh presented a unique opportunity for us since we had many connections on the ground, which helped us coordinate and execute the relief operation with low-overhead. Such a personal network does not exist for us in Myanmar.
  • When we carried out our efforts in Bangladesh, we were not yet approved for our tax-exempt status in the USA. Now that we have been approved, we have to be more careful with our actions. At the end of the day, relief efforts do not align perfectly with our mission.
  • We are already spread thin trying to get our v1 website running – which is our main mission. It would not be prudent for us to take on projects that take us away from that immediate goal.

Therefore, we believe this is not the best time for us to initiate relief efforts in Myanmar.

We are delighted to see that people want to help. Here are some suggestions on how you can help out:

  • Firstly, keep abreast of the latest situation. If you can’t provide donations, you can help greatly by spreading the right information.
  • You can give to World Food Programme as they seem to be the ones with the most significant presence at this time in Myanmar. You can do this from here.
  • Here is a list of other organizations that are trying to respond to the disaster.

Please let us know if you have any comments/questions.