Who We Are

Iona Proebst- Executive Director/Founder

Iona founded The Branch Foundation in 2007 and remains actively engaged in all levels of the organisation. After extensive travel and a love for cultural diversity, Iona solidified her passion for working with marginalized and indigenous communities. Iona further fostered her interest for local community engagement by spending two years working in the remote town of Sangklaburi on the Thai-Burma border with Volunteer Services Overseas and their local partners. Iona has earned a degree in Social Anthropology and a postgraduate in International Development from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. In 2014 Iona was awarded a Rotary World Peace Fellowship to study Peace and Conflict studies at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. While based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Iona looks to further build the capacity of the organisation and continue working in partnership with local communities in sustainable development.

Contact: ionaproebst@thebranchfoundation.org

Tom Rosen- Co-Director/Project Manager

Since joining The Branch Foundation in April 2010, Tom has helped create, implement and monitor the organisation’s projects.  He studied Business Economics at the University of Liverpool, learning vital financial, managerial and marketing skills with the intent of implementing them in the non-profit sector. Given his awareness of global inequalities and desire to make a difference, Tom left London to pursue a career in International Development.  Since arriving in Thailand in February 2010, Tom has worked for various organisations along the Thai-Burma border.  He fulfilled many roles in the last three years, from fundraising in Mae Sot to organisational development in Sangkhlaburi.  Since July 2011, Tom has been managing The Branch Foundation office with an unwavering determination to ensure that the organisation continues to provide high value services to the communities with which they work.

Contact: tomrosen@thebranchfoundation.org

Tai Leng- Project/Education Coordinator,  Koung Jor Refugee Camp

Tai Leng was born in Shan State, Burma. He left his hometown in 2010 to attended non-formal education in Thailand where he finished primary level. After graduating from Wide Horizons, a programme that provides education to young adults from the Thai-Burma border and inside Burma, he started work at Koung Jor Shan refugee camp as the Project/Education Coordinator and English teacher. Tai Leng aims to further his education by studying for the GED examinations so that he can attend university. He is very passionate about working at Koung Jor Shan refugee camp due to the fact that this was the community that initially provided him with the opportunities to advance his own life. Tai Leng looks forward to further developing the relationship between The Branch Foundation and Koung Jor.

Contact: koungjor@gmail.com

Tai Leng

Sai Laokur – Project/Education Coordinator Assistant, Koung Jor Refugee Camp

Sai Laokur was born in central Shan State. Whilst studying English at the Union of Tai Student, he also taught the Shan language to students during the summer break. He moved to Thailand in 2012 to continue his education and found himself studying at Koung Jor refugee camp. The classes here helped him to gain entrance into the English Immersion Programme in Mae Sot. Now that he has finished his course, he has returned to Koung Jor and wants to help provide a good education for the new generation in this camp. Currently, he is working as Project/Education Assistant Coordinator and English teacher. His long-term goals are to complete his GED exam and attend university. He is excited to apply the skills he has learnt to help facilitate and improve the English preparation programme which previously benefitted his own education and to work with TBF on other initiatives.

Contact: koungjor@gmail.com

Gon Seng

Sai Oo- Project Coordinator, Koung Jor Refugee Camp

Sai Oo has been working with The Branch Foundation since 2010.  As Project Coordinator/Education Director, Sai Oo manages and facilitates the projects in the Koung Jor Refugee Camp. He has completed a Diploma in Community Development from the Wide Horizon School.  Sai Oo uses his Shan background and eight years of experience working with the community to effectively coordinate projects within the Camp.  Sai Oo looks to continue working with The Branch Foundation and the Koung Jor Camp to ensure more transparent project management and strengthened communication between the organisation and the Shan community.

Contact: koungjor@gmail.com

saioo

Brigitte Lorenz- New Zealand Coordinator

Brigitte is a founding member of The Branch Foundation and holds the position as the organisation’s New Zealand Coordinator.  She works as a psychosynthesis counselor and imago relationship therapist in Auckland, New Zealand.  Brigitte offers The Branch Foundation organisational, logistical and general support while serving as the base contact for the organisation in New Zealand.  Having visited many of past and present Branch Foundation projects, Brigitte now has a full appreciation for the scope of the organisation and fully stands behind their vision and mission.

Contact: info@thebranchfoundation.org

Annabel Harrison- Trustee

Annabel has been a member and trustee of The Branch Foundation since its conception in 2007.  She has a degree in contemporary dance and works in the arts with communities in her home country of New Zealand.   She currently serves as a music teacher, dancer and stage manager.  Although her professional work is not directly connected with The Branch Foundation’s projects, Annabel has always been passionate about strengthening communities and making this world a better place for the less advantaged.  She helps advocate for The Branch Foundation throughout New Zealand.  She remains a constant supporter and huge admirer of The Branch Foundation team and the tireless work they do.

Contact: info@thebranchfoundation.org

The Branch Foundation’s Board of Trustees  Iona Proebst, Brigitte Lorenz, Annabel Harrison, Glen Williams