Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Fire Fly Mission

'Together we light up the world.' So goes the motto. Members of the Fire Fly Mission (FFM) liken themselves to fireflies, though each emits only a small spark of light, when grouped together, they believe that they can help to light up some of the dark corners of the world. This is the aspiration of the FFM in its humanitarian work. It aims to bring aids and monetary support to the people who live in the poorer areas in countries around the Singapore region. FFM started out as an offshoot of the Buddhist Fellowship with the intention of undertaking overseas humanitarian work. Its first mission was a health and community welfare project in Myanmar in the year 2000. It went by the name of 'Song of Apsaras.' In 2003, it adopted the name “Fire Fly Mission” and became a registered society on 1 October 2005. It’s stated objectives are -
To bring love, peace and happiness to the self and the world at large.
To assist and facilitate the building of a favorable environment for basic health and education for the less fortunate.

Members of the FFM are primarily Singaporean Buddhists who join in as volunteers to participate in its projects, contributing their time, money and energy. They come from all walks of life and of all ages. The humanitarian projects undertaken by the FFM now cover Myanmar, Thailand, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The projects focus on three main areas - health, education and social welfare. In the area of health, FFM has provided medicine, medical equipment and ambulances where they are needed. It has also financed the building of clinics and hospitals. In education, it has provided funds for the construction or upgrading of schools and students’ hostels in several villages in southern Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It has donated books, school uniforms and computers, and paid for teachers’ salaries and student bursaries in Myanmar, Thailand and Nepal. In social welfare, it has donated a variety of things to meet people's needs. These include blankets, sewing machine and food supplies. It has provided funds for the building of orphanages and community halls in several places. It has also donated substantially to monasteries and temples in theses countries.
When Cyclone Nargis hit the delta regions in Myanmar on 2nd May 2008, the FFM quickly went into action to organize disaster relief. Members opened their purses to make donations. Essential food and medical items were purchased and arrangements were made for a team of volunteers to get to the disaster areas. On 17th May, four volunteers were on their way there. It was to find that it was the first civilian non-medical group to make it to ground zero. It went to work immediately to distribute medicine and food to the victims. That first team distributed some 500 kg of medical supplies and 20 tons of food items such as rice, lentils and cooking oil. With the help of the local partners, it was able to quickly assess the most urgent need in the rehabilitation programmed. It immediately provided funds for the repairs to schools, orphanages and monasteries which served as relief centers. Since then, three more teams of volunteers have been to the disaster areas to continue with the relief work. FFM will continue its efforts to bring help to the cyclone victims. Programmers for mid-term and long-term rehabilitation have been drawn up. They include rebuilding of schools, orphanages and clinics.
The FFM has over the years set up a network of local partners in the countries where it is active. Most of the local partners are well-respected Sangha members and they help to oversee its projects at the ground level. It has proved to be a good, practical way to ensure local cooperation and proper coordination as well as accountability for the funds disbursed to them. The FFM observes a strict accountability for all donations it receives from members and well-wishers. It adopts a zero cost policy for overhead so that every cent received from donations goes towards funding of its humanitarian and disaster relief projects. There is no permanent office and meetings are held in temples or members’ homes. Administrative and travel expenses are borne by members/volunteers out of their own pockets even when they travel out of Singapore. For more information on the Fire Fly Mission, visit its website:

1 comment:

Andy said...

Dear Venerable Sir,

I for one will be making dana in the new year to this worthy organisation. Thanks for the reccomendation.

Best Wishes and Metta