Public events and new initiatives

Dear Best Friend Members and Supporters,
We would like to share information about several upcoming goings-on in Chiang Mai, present The Best Friend's 2013 'Burma Now' desk calendar, and also tell you about a new project that supports former political prisoners in Burma.

2nd Annual Access To Justice Public Interest Fair, Saturday 10 November, 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. @ Kantary Hills Hotel, Chiang Mai

Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia (BABSEA) presents this annual opportunity to learn about the work of different social and educational organizations operating in the region. The Public Interest Fair is a great chance to find out about job and volunteer opportunities, network, and support the organizations doing incredible work in Chiang Mai and beyond.

The Best Friend will have a table at the fair, which will be held at the Kantary Hills Hotel on Nimmanhaemin Road, Soi 12. The event is free and open to the public.

J.J. Market Christmas Shopping Fair, Saturday 24 November, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. @ J.J. Hobby Market, Chiang Mai

This holiday-themed event is organized by the Royal British Legion and Lanna CareNet, with all money raised going to benefit non-profit and charity projects. Do all of your holiday shopping in one go, and support local businesses and NGOs, including The Best Friend, at the same time!

Over 100 booths will be selling services and goods, including gifts, clothing, books, DVDs, and second-hand goods, and also distributing free information. Plenty of food and drink stalls will keep the atmosphere festive. Free and open to the public.

2013 'Burma Now' desk calendars now available!

The Best Friend's desk calendars have become a popular and useful item over the past couple of years. This year's calendar is our most ambitious yet.

With wonderful photographs graciously contributed by over a dozen professional and amateur photographers, including Michele Jullian, Dimitra Stasinopoulou, John Hulme, Ryan Libre, Sascha Sch๖berl, and many more, the concept for the 2013 calendar is 'Burma Now', attempting to visually present the current complexities of the country and its peoples — the landmarks, the mundane, the beautiful and the struggling. In addition, each month highlights a different organization working for positive change in Burma. It's truly more of a 'Burma Now' calendar than merely a 'Best Friend' calendar.

The calendar is available for 250 baht ($8.50 U.S.) at the Chiang Mai library, Borderline Collective in Mae Sot, and Documentary Arts Asia in Chiang Mai. It will also be available at all of our upcoming public events. All of the proceeds will support The Best Friend's activities in Chiang Mai during the upcoming year. If you would like to order a number of calendars for a bulk discount to give away to friends, colleagues, and family members, please e-mail We hope you'll let our 2013 calendar become a useful and inspiring fixture on your desktop all year long!

New taxi network in Rangoon supports former political prisoners

For anyone who may be traveling to Burma, we would like to encourage you to make use of a new social entrepreneurship program created by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners - Burma (AAPPB).

For Burma's former political prisoners, daily survival can be a struggle. Normal bank loans are virtually non-existent, and many have had their education and careers interrupted by imprisonment. Political prisoners are released with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, and some do not even have enough money to get home.

The Golden Harp, created shortly after the historic and high profile political prisoner release in January 2012, aims to provide these released political prisoners with the financial capital and resources they need to become self-sustainable.

The Golden Harp is a program in which former political prisoners are given the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty with dignity through a micro credit loan that allows them to act as guides and taxi drivers throughout Burma. The Golden Harp ensures that former political prisoners are not forgotten and are given a fair chance to resume their life after prison. Foreign visitors to Burma will be provided with quality services such as reliable translation, safe transport, and an accurate source of information about the country's current political situation, including about the political and human rights situation in the country.

If you will be traveling to Burma and would like the opportunity to assist former political prisoners and to discuss the situation in the country openly, please plan to make use of Golden Harp Taxi Service. E-mail or call Talky at (+95-9) 450-019-186 for more information and to make arrangements.

We hope you will join us at the upcoming public events in Chiang Mai, and will consider supporting the 2013 'Burma Now' calendar and the Golden Harp Taxi Service. The Best Friend is also currently working with both Chiang Mai University and Payap University to organize future Burma-related forums and events, so we will share  information again soon.

Have a great week!

The Best Friend


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