The DeBoers' First Visit to Myanmar
There are times in life when one decision or one interaction changes the course of life in unexpected ways. It was a short 24 hours in 1988 in Myanmar (then Burma), and more specifically a 2-hour boat ride with friendly tour guides, that left Jack and Marilyn DeBoer forever changed.
After only a brief conversation, the DeBoers felt deeply connected to Myanmar and her people, vowing to do what they could to contribute to the advancement of the nation.
Once the DeBoers were back in their home country, the United States, they developed a friendship with the leader of World Vision, one of the largest humanitarian organizations in the world.
Partnering with World Vision
Remembering their conversation with the tour guides in Myanmar, they asked if World Vision was involved in that country. What resulted from that conversation was a Memorandum of Understanding between the Myanmar government and World Vision.
This permitted World Vision to operate within the country and, as a result, over three million Myanmar people have directly benefited from their programs and services.
Since their first visit in 1988, the DeBoers have enjoyed three decades of partnership and committed friendship with the people of Myanmar.
Developing A Leadership Program
After the shift towards democracy in 2010, Myanmar adopted an open posture toward the outside world. Focus groups of respected Myanmar citizen leaders shared with the DeBoers that their country most needed leadership development and education.
As a response, Jack and Marilyn, with the DeBoer Foundation, began to explore how to develop the leadership and management skills of emerging Myanmar leaders. who missed educational and vocational opportunities during previous decades.
The DeBoers' Legacy
The DeBoer Foundation launched the DeBoer Fellowship in January 2014 as a ten-month leadership training program. The DeBoer Fellowship gathers for three residential Fellow Events throughout different regions in Myanmar. Since that first cohort, over 240 aspiring leaders have graduated from the DeBoer Fellowship.
DeBoer Fellows commit to Go Do Good in their organizations, businesses, communities, and throughout Myanmar. These Lifelong Fellows inspire others as they contribute their skills to the advancement of Myanmar, extending Jack and Marilyn DeBoer’s legacy beyond what they could have imagined.