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How to find trustees for a UK charity?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by simon43, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. simon43

    simon43 New commenter

    Firstly, I want to emphasize that I'm not lobbying for donations! It's advice and suggestions that I need :)

    A very brief background:

    I'm a British teacher, but I live and teach in south-east Asia since about 2002. I previously taught in Thailand and Laos, but since 2012, I have been teaching in Myanmar (formerly Burma).

    I am very familiar with the extremes of poverty and wealth that exist in many countries in south-east Asia, and am a very practical, hands-on sort of guy. (I built 4 small hotels 'by-hand' in Thailand and I'm somewhat of a computer guru and software code-writer).

    During the week, I work at an international school. But at the weekend, I give my time for free to teach at an orphanage in Myanmar. This orphanage is in a rather remote location in the hills outside the new capital city of Naypyidaw, and certainly not near any regions that are populated by expats or visited by foreign tourists.

    There are no less than 800 children - orphans and 'abandoned' kids who live at this orphanage, and are cared for by the local Buddhist monks and Myanmar community. Their ages are between 0 and 18 years old.

    Abandoned is not the best word to use. Most of these children have parents. However, their parents are too poor to feed, clothe and educate them. The children have a much better future life if they stay at the orphanage, where they are safe, can be clothed, fed and educated to a basic level.

    OK, with my teacher's hat on, everything is going OK at the orphanage. But I see many, many more opportunities to improve the life, health and education of these kids. For example, library books to help them to learn English and Maths, a computer room with relevant learning apps for English, Maths, Geography etc, shoes to protect their feet, clothes that are relatively new, health care etc etc (you can imagine all sorts of things that would help them). The local monks and villagers do their best to provide for the kids, but imagine trying to fund the cost of providing 3 meals every day for 800 children!

    I'm 'on the ground' here in Myanmar, and I have the experience and local contacts to hugely improve the lives of these kids. The monks and villagers have no concept or experience to publicise their needs or situation, and no concept that 'foreigners' who have never even visited Myanmar would be willing to help in any small way.

    But I'm not in a position to spend my monthly salary on these kids - I need to save the majority for my retirement years. I do spend sums within my ability to purchase books and posters, computer equipment etc.

    So back to the purpose of this post. I want to set up a UK charity to solicit donations, that will be used 100% for the benefit of this orphanage. That means no staff salaries, no admin fees etc etc.

    I am VERY dubious of many household name charities who operate in Asia, and who claim to care for the kids etc. I know what % of their donations actually are used for the benefit of the kids - it can be very low and I'm sure many generous people who want to help are put off by these admin fees and the high salaries of their staff. (Without naming names, I have previously been offered a high salary by a '5-star' UK charity to work in Myanmar, being housed at a 5-star hotel and driven around in a Range Rover etc etc - I have zero time for charities of that ilk).

    It's only by setting up my own registered charity that I can be sure that funds will not be misappropriated, and also that the kids will not be open to possible exploitation and abuse. I'm tired of reading so many stories about charity fund frauds and pervy old men in Asia :)

    There are also (especially in Cambodia), so-called orphanages where the kids are deliberately underfed and clothed in rags, to elicit sympathy from foreigners who donate funds to help the boss by a new Mercedes Benz.

    My plan would be to set up a UK charity to benefit this orphanage, to have UK trustees to manage/assist back in the UK, and then I'm 'at the sharp end', to identify specific requirements and needs, and to ensure that donations are used only for that purpose, and to provide video evidence of what has been bought/built with the funds.


    is a You tube video about the orphanage. The audio is in Myanmarsa (Burmese), but you can get an idea of what the place is like. The monk who is featured in the video founded the orphanage many years ago. The buildings are continually being expanded and enlarged to house the kids, because the orphanage population increase by about 100 every year.

    These kids are not in total poverty - they have a roof over their heads and some food every day, as well as caring adults from the monastery and local community. But there is huge room for 'improvement'.

    So... how do I go about finding trustees in the UK? I know how to register a UK charity and I can create and market a website/social media to publicise the charity.

    Is there a website forum dedicated to setting-up and running a UK charity?

    Advice and suggestions are very much appreciated. I want this idea to be a reality, but I want to do it the right way
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  2. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    Work your way through members of the House of Lords finding ones who have spoken out about these issues. Personally I wouldn't touch your charity with a barge pole. Sorry.

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

  4. simon43

    simon43 New commenter

    I fully respect your point of view. If I had no knowledge of this orphanage and had not seen the conditions with my own eyes, then I'd probably share your position.

    I understand that my plan and ideas will be a major challenge for me - I could dismiss these ideas and get on with my 'cushioned' lifestyle in Myanmar.

    But that's not me :)

    Thanks again for your suggestion about the HoL. Bear in mind that this is not directly attributable to politics, the current government or past governments of Myanmar. The situation exists throughout the country - (Myanmar is the second poorest country in Asia).

    Rosiegirl, yes I already checked that link before I started my thread. I understand how to set up and run the charity - it is finding trustees that is a challenge for me, especially as I am not based in the UK.

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    I think the problem is that thereare so many small charities - my daughter works in the charity sector and you would not believe how many there are.

    Is there any chance of linking up with one of the bigger international charities and asking for help and support?
  6. simon43

    simon43 New commenter

    Rosiegirl, yes there are indeed a huge number of charities, and so I'd need to target my marketing etc, to ensure that the charity has continuing donations.

    As to your other suggestion, (and I touched on this in my original post), please do not get me started on linking up with a big international charity :) Having lived 'at the sharp end' in Myanmar since 2012, I have seen how a number of these major charities operate in the country, (some of them are household names in the UK).

    I have seen (and been offered employment) by them at a high salary level and with in-country benefits that seem hard to justify. (Is a 5-star hotel really necessary for the staff? Is an expensive 4-wheel drive really needed to drive in downtown Yangon?).

    No thanks. This one I will do on my own or with colleagues that I know and trust.

    Certainly, I would have a lot more faith in linking up with a small charity. I'm not saying ALL large charities are 'dubious' and I'll end my comments at that, before I get slapped with a defamation charge!

    Update: I just Googled and found a UK website 'Trustee Finder'. I'll go and take a look and see if that website can help me.
  7. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Have sent you a PM.

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