Comment, Solidarity Autumn 2011
2011 is going to be the year when UnionAID really takes off. All the hard graft getting established, together with growing support from donors, has laid a strong foundation from which to build.
Just before Christmas we got the exciting news that our application to the Government’s new Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) to build a skills training centre for young Burmese migrant workers in Mae Sot had been approved. This project is incredibly good value for money.
The initiative is a tribute, in particular, to our project leader and FTUB partner in Mae Sot, Min Lwin who works relentlessly both inside and outside Burma to improve conditions for workers.
Elsewhere in the newsletter we have set out our priorities for 2011. They are ambitious, and challenging, for a small organisation of volunteers. But with your support we can do it. The SDF funding criteria encourages us to focus on economic development and the Tamil Nadu project already has components of this. The Dalit communities could benefit from developing the project’s existing craft and contracting collectives, skills training and micro-financing. That will be our objective for their new project.
As a union based organisation, and with a network of Pacific unionists, we would also like to extend our work to our Pacific neighbours. There may be an opportunity to do that this year.
And of course raising funds for all this has to be an important priority for us. Our objective is for all union members, and hopefully families and friends, to commit to a small monthly direct debit, perhaps $10. This year we will have a special campaign to recruit union leaders and staff as Kiwi Solidarity members. Many have said to me that they intend to sign up, but for various reasons they don’t get around to it.
So this year we are making that a special campaign with May Day as D Day.
So it could be a big year for UnionAID. Please help us make sure it is.