What are these projects about?
We see our main task in informing and connecting. We don’t offer ready-made solutions – we develop the way to go together with the communities. We believe that the agents of change are the communities themselves and we try to find the current weak points together and think of solutions. After this step is concluded we become active: where we can provide knowledge we do (e.g. in form of explanations to visitors in several languages), where we can’t we connect to someone who can. Where material/financial assistance is needed we do our best to provide it for now – but at the same time we encourage the communities to become active themselves to find long-term strategies. The past years have been very difficult in the area and taking chances was often connected to taking risks. Also the resources are so limited that people just don’t dare to experiment – and that is where our creativity workshops will come in. Training and trying out will be at the core of all of our projects.
Why this format?
At the moment the communities face many changes: after years of instability and conflict it seems now the silver lining has finally been reached. At the same time this is overwhelming for many. The communities are suddenly exposed to many groups showing interest: tour guides and tourists, religious missionaries and the government. They do not have a lot of experience in communicating with them and who those visitors are and what they exactly do here is unclear to them. The same for NGOs: they show up, which is generally seen as positive as they provide vaccinations. But nobody knows who exactly they are and if they will come back and when.
Hand in Hand
The communities currently feel neglected and cannot rely on anyone. And we think they shouldn’t – primarily they should rely on themselves. And that is where we come in: Only when our advice and action are clearly requested we will get active. We see ourselves as community consultants: We do not want to overrule the interests of the communities. Together with them we want to find out what they are and empower them to follow their own ways. We do not want their dependency – that is why we only conduct projects in gaps that currently cannot be filled otherwise. We plan to close them so successfully that we can drop out as soon as possible – having developed those solutions together with the communities they also know now how to organize themselves for the next upcoming issue to solve.
We try to establish our support as subtle as possible. E.g. the teacher will give the school-start-bags to the children herself without us being present. In this way they will not know the behind-the-scenes (the cliché of Foreigners coming and giving presents does not need more fuel and we are happy to help without being seen). At the same time we know that you as supporters and donors want to know what is happening: therefore the explanations in the villages to bridge the language barrier and enable the villagers to communicate what is currently going on. And for the same reason this website shall serve as an independent and reliable information platform. It is also a feedback loop for the improvement of our projects and approaches and the exchange with the community.
Who are the Three MaMas?
Ma Ma is Myanmar language and means “elder sister”. It also strongly resembles the German word Mama, meaning “mother”. Thus to our own definition a MaMa is a person who cares for others and is not afraid of taking on responsibility.
We chose this name, as the three of us are all elder sisters and often adressed in this way (in Myanmar it is more common and friendly to adress people as “sister” or “brother” than using the first name). It also coincides with our quite present character trait of mamaness towards each other and others. We want to do something together and we want to do good. For that we throw in all we got, so far mostly a lot of goodwill, our individual strengths and a lot of mamaness of course.
Sophia – Jella – Angela
Yangon – Kengtung –– Taunggyi
Organizing MaMa – Connecting MaMa– Creative MaMa
33 MaMas, 333 MaMas, 3333 MaMas – why not? We didn’t expect it, but we already received requests to become part of the MaMa community – and we can use all help and for sure the world can use more MaMas! So we are very grateful for the support you give us already and hope for many more to participate in one way or another in our activities.
We thank you for your support in our communities’ names as much as in our own!