Margaret Fawcett, from London, developed an interest in Asia while travelling in the region for business and leisure in the 1980s. She has supported the Burma Campaign for five years, first as a donor, then as a volunteer.
Why did you choose the Burma Campaign? I went on several business trips to countries such as Hong Kong and Japan in the 1980s when I was working for a publishing group. My interest in the plight of the Burmese people dates back to February 1988, when I went there for a week's holiday. In those days the standard tourist visa was limited to seven days, but we were relatively free to travel around and talk to people. There was a feeling of change and some hint of optimism, but later that year came the brutal suppression of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Rangoon.
There are many other countries with serious human rights problems, but I specifically support the Burma Campaign because Burma has a relatively low profile.
What do you do in support?
I have been a donor for five years. I have a monthly standing order.
Do you volunteer too? Yes. I have spent one day a week at the office in London since January. I do clerical work. I offered to volunteer after receiving a fundraising appeal through the post before Christmas. I wrote back saying that I couldn't make a donation but that I could dedicate some of my time. Sometimes it's nice to do something practical. What's good about being around the office is that you hear about how campaigns are doing, how much money has been raised and what it is going to be used for.
What are your other charities? I support Amnesty International and Liberty.
I have also been involved with the Alcohol Recovery Project in London for five years. I approached the project after seeing an advert in a magazine when I was doing my training in traditional Chinese medicine. It provides a number of activities for people recovering from alcohol addiction, including Chinese medicine sessions, and I needed to do 100 case studies to complete the training. I now practise acupressure there one day a week on a voluntary basis.