The Founders | Partners Relief & Development

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Our Founders

It all began in a refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border where Partners Relief & Development founders Steve and Oddny Gumaer encountered a young, orphaned girl.

We started Partners in 1995 in response to the plea of Rose Mu, a widow living in Sho Klo Refugee camp in Thailand. She asked us to please, "Tell your friends in the west what is happening to Myanmar’s children." Rose was a wonderful Christian woman who insisted on doing something with her faith, not just talking about it.

"Tell your friends in the west what is happening to Myanmar's children."

Sitting on her bamboo floor drinking weak tea from a dirty tin cup, Rose told us about the four year old girl that was brought to her the night before. She described how resistance soldiers found her hiding in bushes outside of her home village. Her village was attacked by Myanmar Army soldiers and of all the people who called that village home, this young girl was the only survivor the pro-democracy resistance soldiers found.

She went on to say that, "Her parents were probably running with their child, being pursued by soldiers." And that before the soldiers caught up to them, they likely, "hid her in some bushes and ran in a different direction, luring the enemy troops away from their daughter."

Rose Mu with the children at her orphanage. Steve with children from Rose Mu's orphanage.

Rose Mu (left) and Steve Gumaer (right) with children from Rose's Orphanage

When we calculated the cost for comprehensive care for this little girl, living with Rose and her own two children, the total was $30 for an entire year. That's right...about 8 cents a day. We did what you would do: We showed love with our wallets and gave the $30. We also invited our friends and family along for the adventure of delivering help for displaced, orphaned, or marginalized kids like her.

We did what you would do: We showed love with our wallets and gave the $30.

Thanks to people like you, we've been able to help hundreds of thousands of children in conflict zones in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. We have taken the challenge and example of Rose Mu seriously. We also listen carefully to the words of John the beloved. He said that you and I should lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If we have material possessions and see a person in need but do not help them, the Bible says that God's love is not alive in us (1 JN 3:16-18). He implores us to love with our actions, not just our words.

On this website, we at Partners have drawn on our experiences and resources to bring you commentary, information, and first hand accounts of how children growing up in conflict-affected areas in Southeast Asia and the Middle East are treated and what our community is doing to help them. We also offer you a bridge to reach out to them with the healing and hope that we are meant to deliver. With God's help and yours, we can be part of bringing free, full lives to children affected by conflict and oppression.

For the Children,
Steve & Oddny