2021 Community Check in with ETB founder Fred Stockwell
Click here for our update from March 2021.
2020 Community Check in’s with ETB founder Fred Stockwell
Click here for our update from February 2020.
Click here for our update from July 2020.
2019 Community Check in with ETB founder Fred Stockwell
Fred visited Ashland this October to share news of the community and ETB’s projects, including clean water, Buddha Land, a new Buddhist community-run center, education sponsorship, hardships, and hope. Fred also brought photos and video to share that show the work in action.
We are working on an email to share the stories and visuals with our mailing list of supporters. Join our mailing list here to stay updated.
2018 Project Updates
Click here to read about our projects in 2018 as well as the first two months of 2019.
Fall 2017 Annual Fundraiser
This year, we are holding ETB’s annual fundraiser online, thereby broadening our reach from our local roots in Ashland, Oregon, to our national and global supporters.
For the upcoming year, we are focusing on funding three main areas of need: education, on-site improvement projects, as well as food and transportation assistance.
Read more in our email here or go directly to our shop here.
Thank you to all of our supporters who responded so generously to our fall newsletter. In these times when the world feels rife with insurmountable problems, Eyes to Burma proves that individuals like ourselves can have a direct, positive impact on the lives of others.
We also wish to thank the following organizations and individuals for their support of the community at the local Mae Sot level:
Mae Tao Clinic
Dr. Chris and other MTC visiting doctors
Aussie Friends of Eyes to Burma
Ride High Foundation and Rob Callander
Medecins Sans Frontiere’s Malaria Clinic
There are many others who have helped this year in Mae Sot, and your ongoing support is sincerely appreciated. We could not do what we do without your help.
Our appreciation wouldn’t be complete without naming Oma, Oo Kyaw, and Moon; the community headmen; and, the community members working on on-site improvement projects.
Fall 2017 Updates
Click here to read our latest newsletter to supporters and find out about the new community-owned truck as well as education sponsorship progress. Our annual fall fundraiser will be held online this year, with more details coming in October. Thank you for your continued support and interest in ETB projects and the community we work with!
Giving Tuesday 2016
Support direct aid organizations this Giving Tuesday so your donations have direct impact.
When you donate to Eyes to Burma, 100% of donations go to ETB’s community-building and -supporting projects like education sponsorship, access to potable water and electricity, transportation to medical facilities, and emergency assistance.
View our online store where you can fund particular projects or sign up to be a sustaining monthly donor.
Eyes to Burma’s on-site weekend classes with Saya (Teacher) Joe were highlighted in an episode of DVB’s Youth Voice in 2015. Click here for English-language transcript.
A garbage dump outside of Mae Sot, Thailand, is home to a vibrant community of Burmese migrant workers and economic refugees. This community lives and works at the site, earning meager livings by picking out and selling recyclable plastics and glass. Many are unable to return to their country and are unable to gain legal refugee status in Thailand; thus, their options are very limited.
The sole mission of Eyes to Burma is to assist this group of approximately four hundred people. We provide the most basic essentials, including food, clean water, clothing, and shelter when the incomes of the dump’s residents fall short. We provide first aid to prevent diseases caused by poor sanitation and offer transportation to medical facilities in emergencies. We also provide sponsorship to nearby schools and on-site weekend classes. The community at the garbage dump maintains itself at a subsistence level; our role is to assist when such aid is needed.
If you are inspired to help, please spread the word about our efforts and help raise money for the children and families living in the dump. Every dollar donated goes directly to support this community as we have an all-volunteer staff.
You can see from Fred Stockwell’s photos and letters that a small amount goes a long way.
Make an online donation Here via PayPal.
Or send a check to Eyes to Burma, 709 Washington Street, Ashland, OR 97520.
Read articles about ETB’s projects on our Media page.
The Board can be contacted by telephone at 541-944-9748 or by email at email@example.com
Fred can be contacted in Mae Sot at 011-66-08-5676-3469
Greetings from finland! Hope you can keep doing such a good job! I wish I could help more and be a part of this amazing progress.
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I met Fred through a common friend in Mae Sot. I am a medical student and was invited by him to visit the people he helps. I was very impressed by the work he is doing over there. He actually puts his children (as he calls them) in front of most his priorities going to big lengths to help them and their parents in any way he can. It was a real pleasure to meet a great person like Fred.
I spent 10 weeks living next door to Fred so naturally was curious to find out what took him out at 7 in the morning and meant he was rarely back till 7 at night. He very kindly took me out one morning on his run to take the children to school. They looked so smart in their uniforms and so happy to see him. It was wonderful to see them being introduced to a regular lifestyle which is giving them so many options for the future.
I knew that Fred had been relocating some families to make way for buildings and I think he had told me the new land was a swamp. However that had not really registered until I actually saw the new houses on stilts IN A SWAMP. I guess sometimes reality is just so far removed from our comfortable lives that it’s hard to take in.
Almost all the time I have been here Fred has been struggling with a bad cough, made worse by his relentless pace, but he never misses a day ………it would be hard to as the people have so many needs, despite the fact that he is doing a great job of moving them towards being self-supporting.
There is no doubt that if you donate money, however small an amount, every penny will be spent directly on help. I don’t think that there are many charities that can say that.
I am in the final year of my undergraduate degree and have traveled/will be traveling through Thailand and Burma with a group of other students from Western Washington University.
Today, my study abroad group and I were welcomed by Fred to learn more about this organization and to see the dump; a place where many individuals call home. After reflecting upon our visit, I wanted to convey how appreciative I am to have been given this experience. Wanting to go into global health and development work, I have observed the framework, and goals of many other organizations. Eyes to Burma is sincerely refreshing. Following the quote, “Not to or for but, with and by,” is exactly how Fred has organized this project. Instead of telling these refugees what they need or trying to “rescue” them, he simply asks how he can help. By observing and living with these people he has been able to repeatedly make small efforts in a way that has impacted these individuals greatly and sustainably.
Thank you Fred and Wendy! It was a pleasure to meet you, and I hope that I am able to meet with you both again one day.
Interested in learning more, I have some more questions about past/present strategies and potential future ideas that I will email privately.
I am a final year medical student who was volunteering in Mae Sot at the Mae Tao Clinic (providing free healthcare to the migrant population), and I had the pleasure of meeting Fred whilst he was doing his charitable work. He very kindly invited me to join him to see the work he does. Little did I know, the visit to see Fred’s work would be a life-changing experience.
Initially, I was astonished and appalled to see the living circumstances of the community in Mae Sot who Fred serves; they live and work within the dump site – as you can imagine, teeming with insects and bad smells. Nevertheless, it didn’t take me long to realise the community was filled with some of the most generous and most content-looking people I’ve come across in a long time. The kids on the site were playing with our old rubbish, kicking around a flat football, cutting leaves with an old tin lid and creating a make-shift shop with empty rubbish cans, leaves and twigs. It didn’t take me long at all to realise the safe environment, clean water facilities, social structures, transport and supplies were largely thanks to the work of Fred; it’s very obvious that the community appreciates his work immensely. However, what struck me the most is unlike other charities, Fred doesn’t come and just make changes, Fred directly works with them in order to help bring about the most suitable change, and only changes the community there wants and would, therefore, productively utilise.
Another valuable lesson I learnt from Fred, which has since influenced me (and I’m sure this lesson will always stay with me) is how rapidly and efficiently he acts. In times of disaster, such as when floods were affecting Mae Sot, Fred isn’t the sort to wait around but instead he immediately acts with the most sincere well-being of aiding the community.
The work Eyes to Burma does is remarkable. After witnessing all of the above, I felt a strong impulse to donate towards the cause and when mentioning this to Fred his response stays with me: Other charities I’ve expressed a desire to donate to would prefer to take the funds into their own hands or into a particular pot; however, Fred instead told me how I can use that money myself to help that community and he highlighted how all 20+ kids there are in need of new school uniforms. That’s exactly what we did, Fred took me and the kids into town and I purchased all of them new school uniforms – I certainly can’t forget the joy in those lovely young children’s faces, a truly wonderful experience.
Thank you Fred, and thank you Eyes to Burma. I wish you continued on-going success.
Greetings from Korea
Thank you for your help and kindness for our visit in last weekend. I’m Dr. Han who receive your business card. I’ve been around whole Asia and I saw many things. So I think I have a kind of immunity for bad things. But I didn’t expect to see bad things like the dump site. Me and our team was shocked.
Members of our team will send you letter to find what we can help. Please send a reply about what people need. Then we will help the things what we can do. Nice to meet you. And I will visit Maesot in Jan, 2015. I want to visit and see you in Jan.
Fred spoke at Trinity Church in Ashland just this morning. His vivid photographs on display in our parish hall interested members of the parish as they arrived. His presentation showed a short (5 min) film taken in Mae Sot. His pictures say a thousand words.
Thank you for being there, Sarah. Fred’s presentation at Trinity was powerful and everyone who came was very kind and asked wonderful questions. Thank you for your support!
Thank you very much for giving us an insight into what you do. Whilst it was very upsetting to see what goes on at the garbage dump, the work that you do on a daily basis is truly incredible. How amazing you are dedicating your life to the 24 hour support and care of others. How adorable the children are ! I will keep up with you on this and do my best to provide support when possible.
Eimear (one of the medical students who was at Mae Tao clinic)
My gorgeous friend, Megan, had been passionately and progressively sharing her experience with Fred and Eyes to Burma from last year, and it touched me so much so that I had to make the journey myself to see first hand the work that is being done in Mae Sot to make the lives of those displaced by the issues in Burma just that little bit better.
The timing was probably not perfect in terms of the Thai New Year celebrations, but travelling to the Mae Sot dump during Songkran to meet Fred, Goh Mu (Fred’s interpreter) and the Burmese families who live there was very much worth it in my eyes.
Songkran is a happy time in Thailand, and the families living in the dump were all in good spirits. The children laughing and playing, with traditional paint on their faces, throwing water on everyone and anyone coming by, and shrieking in delight when they managed to saturate you; the adults smiling and welcoming, and interested in meeting the newcomers. It’s a time of giving and sharing in Thailand and I was privileged to be a part of this community event. Their spirits are likely to change somewhat as the rainy season nears, the colder weather moves in and it gets harder to pick through the garbage, stay dry and keep warm, but you get the impression that no matter how difficult it gets, the resilience of the people living here will win through, especially knowing that they have Fred and Eyes to Burma to support them.
Our first meeting with Fred was enlightening. He strikes you as someone who genuinely cares about other people, someone who has faced many challenges (there have and will continue to be many more), but someone who has stood tall throughout these challenges as he looks for ways around them – whatever it takes. It’s hard to imagine the physical and mental drain that can, at times, take over his life, but the reward is in the genuine love and respect that this community has for him and the knowledge that each and every day, little by little, the lives of these families are improving. It’s a long, hard road, but the changes that have occurred, not only to the conditions that the families are living in, but to the mindset of the community as a whole, makes you realise that although the journey might be difficult, the end result will be worth it.
Scratch the surface and you’ll find a culture just like any other community, permeated with simmering tensions, boredom, personality clashes and politics. Just because these families have come from a life of persecution and conflict doesn’t make them immune to the social issues that face all of us in our everyday life. Pour this into the melting pot with basic necessities such as clean water, food, shelter and healthcare and you soon understand just how challenging a role Fred, Goh Mu and Eyes to Burma have in Mae Sot.
The work being done by Fred and Eyes to Burma can only be described as vital. They are making huge in-roads, but in small steps, and, progressively, this community is learning how to take responsibility, how to work together and, hopefully down the track, how to be more self-sustainable. Fred is creating opportunity, building self-respect and encouraging those that wish to develop skills that may help them in the future to do so. He does not receive any monetary benefit from any donation and the Eyes to Burma team are volunteers, so you can rest assured that every single dollar is used wholly and solely to benefit the community as a whole.
As an outsider not having visited the dump, I can see how it would be very easy to say to Fred, just do it this way, or just do it that way and the problem will be solved, but unless you actually visit Mae Sot, meet Fred, meet the community and really get to know the challenges they face, in no way can you fully understand what will work and what won’t. Fred has spent years on this project, and he has overcome many of the issues. He now finds himself in the ‘enviable’ position whereby he can work through many of the problems with the community without too many difficulties, but this isn’t something that was achieved overnight and certainly not from a distance.
My first visit to Mae Sot will be one that I will never forget. It has been a humbling experience, and I have learnt so much in such a short space of time. I sincerely thank Fred and Goh Mu for their time and sharing their knowledge and insights, and I look forward to working with them in whatever way I can assist.
It was so wonderful meeting Fred. An amazing man who does an incredible job and he truly cares about those people. Keep up the wonderful work. xx
It was a stunning and moving experience to see your work at the garbage dump.
I just flew from Portland to Medford with the kindest gentleman who shared an amazing tale of helping others. Thank you, Fred, for the work you do and sharing it with me!!
Fred, you are an inspiration! Beautiful story about your work in October Jefferson Monthly. Ashland/Talent/Rogue Vally supports you!
My name is Megan Colby, and I was living in Mae Sot when I met Fred and saw the amazing work he does with Burmese refugee families through his charity ‘Eyes to Burma’. Fred’s passion for helping these beautiful people who are displaced and living in a garbage dump inspired me, and I wanted to help out whilst I was there. Although Fred lives in Mae Sot full-time, he doesn’t receive any income from doing this work, and all his expenses are his own (he doesn’t use any of the donated money). What I love is that when you offer to help, Fred will let you know what is required and then you can make up your own mind as to how much you are able to give – he will even take you into town in his truck to get supplies if that is what you are able to help with. I am truly honoured to have met Fred, and to have seen first hand the work he does in making the lives of others just that little bit better. The Eyes to Burma charity does a fantastic job, but it needs continued support, both physically and with donations of food, clothing and everyday items that we just take for granted. I will definitely return to Mae Sot again soon, and hopefully I will be able to assist Fred in continuing his great work. It’s tragic that in 2012 people are forced to live in conditions that defy belief. As someone who has seen the conditions these families live in first hand, I encourage you to please donate to this very worthwhile cause.
We met the other day at the Mae Tao clinic, I was the old American with the video camera. Any chance I can come photograph your story the week of Feb 20 as I will be in the area once again.
I found out all about http://www.eyestoburma.org through a girl in my class. She showed my class an educational powerpoint that made me thankful for what I have.
Thank you for presenting to our Medford Rotary club on Tuesday. Your presentation was inspiring and reminded me of how lucky we are in this country. We take our security and comforts for granted. Keep up the good work, and I’ll see what support I can drum up for you here locally. Do you just prefer cash, or can our club organize a boot or clothing drive? Can we ship to Thailand or is customs or theft too big of an obstacle?
Alan Kelly, MD
Greetings- I noticed your article in the Medford paper and it caught my eye. I will be at the Country Club Tuesday to hear you speak. Please ask or look me up if you can. I just returned from Thailand where I trekked into the villages of the Meo and Karen tribes. I was there during the massive flooding. This was a life changing trip and I plan to work on a special Visa to return again. It would be nice to meet you and your board to share thoughts.