Graceworks

About GWM

GraceWorks Myanmar (GWM) is a non-denominational community development organisation. We partner with local organisations and individuals working in communities to help them achieve improvement and sustainability in their quality of life.

Through four key focus areas – education, health, community wellbeing and livelihood – we invest in practical programs and projects that take a holistic approach. We are determined to ‘do ourselves out of a job’ and, as such, emphasise long-term relationships with local partners, working to build their capacity.

Central to this is facilitating connections – with people, opportunities, infrastructure and knowledge – that empower them to achieve sustainable development

GWM was founded by Peter Simmons in March 2004. It was born out of his first missions-based trip to Myanmar in 2000. Peter was confronted with stories of babies and young children dying needlessly from lack of medicine. The dire poverty and desperation he witnessed impacted him so deeply that on his return to Australia he felt compelled to act. During the next four years, Peter gained support through his business networks, formed alliances with other aid organisations and continued to visit Myanmar.

Once established, GWM then focused on meeting the health-related needs of people living in poverty. At that time it was primarily a humanitarian organisation responding to emergencies of a more individual nature. From the early relationships established with local community leaders, GWM branched into a role that supported several orphanages – in providing funding for infrastructure, vocational training and health initiatives and partnering with them in the development of sustainable livelihoods and income streams for those orphanages.

In 2011, GWM merged with Community Transformation, a smaller Australian-based organisation founded in 2003, which also focused solely on development in Myanmar. Led by Drs Anthony and Vicki-Ann Ware, Community Transformation had a strong vision for sustainable, community-driven models of development. It is this sustainable livelihoods work and recent merger that has propelled GWM to move beyond purely humanitarian aid to become a grassroots sustainable development organisation.

Today, our operations build on more than a decade of partnership with local organisations and work with specific communities, as well as continually fostering new relationships. We currently work with more than 11 local partners across 19 communities in five states/divisions.

This is enabled by grants and philanthropic gifts from organisations based on Australia, the UK and Myanmar, corporate partnerships, and the generous financial and volunteer contributions of private supporters in Australia.

 

"Do not ask us how much we spend on overheads – ask us how big our dreams are"

~Dan Pallotta