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    Johnson: Roughneck going all out to help the oppressed in Burma

    Mike Carnegie and his wife have donated $30,000 and
    helped raise more for local charity Partners
     
    By  George Johnson, CalgaryHerald February 7, 2013  
    Calgary Roughnecks player Mike
    Carnegie has been supporting the charity Partners for awhile. The locally-based
    group aims to raise money to help victims of Burma’s oppressive regime.
    Photograph by: Calgary
    Herald/Files , Calgary Herald
    Mike Carnegie’s brother-in-law
    Jacob was the hook.
    “He was travelling around
    Thailand and he ended up helping Partners,” explained the Calgary Roughnecks’
    defender and assistant captain on Friday. “You can’t actually do your work in
    Burma, it’s illegal. So he had to work inside the Thailand border.
    “When I signed with the Calgary
    Roughnecks, in ’08, he talked to me about it. He said ‘You’ve got to check out
    this charity. It’s called Partners and their head office is in Calgary.’ ”
    Since then, after some initial
    research and an ever-growing awareness of the need to act, the connection, the
    commitment, has only deepened. The result: Tonight launches the third annual
    Mike Carnegie Burma Campaign to assist the wonderful work done by Partners
    Relief and Development, a Christian international relief and development agency
    founded in 2001.
    Carnegie’s wife, Hayley, has
    taken an equally hands-on approach and now works on the Partners’ board. And in
    three years, Carnegie himself has donated $30,000 from his professional
    lacrosse salary to the agency, working to improve the lives of all those,
    especially children, affected by the ongoing conflict and tyranny in Burma.
    Other Partners headquarters are
    located in Thailand, the U.S., Norway, New Zealand, Australia and the U.K.
    Their Canadian website is www.partnersworld.ca.
    So for a while, anyway, talk of
    Saturday’s impending National Lacrosse League rematch against the Edmonton Rush
    at Scotiabank Saddledome, as well as the ‘Necks’ current three-game win streak,
    were put aside to address a more immediate, more fundamental, more important
    topic than any mere sporting event: The daily injustices being forced on 60
    million Burmese by one of the most oppressive military regimes on the planet.
    The country has been under
    military control since a coup d’état in 1962. Civil strife has been rampant
    since 1948. The United Nations has decried the use of countless human rights
    violations, among them genocide, slavery, human trafficking and a lack of
    freedom of speech.
    “For the last 60 years they’ve
    had an internal war,” Carnegie said, at the Roughnecks’ weekly pre-game media
    availability, “and the government kills its own people, for resources, for
    land, different things, their own initiatives.
    “I’ve just helped with Partners
    in assisting them with some money to do refugee work, to build schools, to set
    up medical clinics, to assist with training, with animals and crops, all kinds
    of sustainable stuff. I’ve kicked in a portion of my salary the last couple of
    years to help them, to bring awareness of what’s going on in that country.
    “They’re in the media more and
    more. (Former U.S. First Lady and Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton just went
    over there, did some touring. A lot more people are going there and seen what’s
    going on, but you’re still not hearing a lot of the dark side of that country.
    It’s getting better, but it’s not getting better.
    “Burma has more child soldiers
    than any other country in the world. We’re talking 80,000 children in their
    army, kids 12 and under. The burning of villages, shelling to get to oil
    reserves. It’s very rich country in terms of resources. Very rich. And they do
    awful things to get people out of the way.
    “Financially, I’d like to kick in
    a bit more, but you do what you can.”
    Carnegie’s commitment, though, is
    admirable, using his web page, an up-and-running Facebook page, as well as
    different media to trigger increased attention to the situation.
    The Roughnecks have done their
    bit in assisting him, donating a portion of the 50/50 draws at home games,
    allowing Partners to run a silent auction, through a portion of select ticket
    proceeds, as well granting him permission to use the club’s website to deliver
    the message.
    Carnegie has yet to visit Burma.
    “One day,” he says, hopefully.
    “My wife and I have talked about it.”
    The problems there are
    long-standing, with deep roots. Solutions are anything but straightforward.
    “We are so fortunate in Canada,”
    said Mike Carnegie. “More than anything, I want to bring awareness to the
    situation going on there. In the last year, more than 200,000 men, women and
    children were displaced from their homes due to ongoing conflicts and are in
    desperate need of the assistance that Partners Relief and Development Canada is
    providing.
    “I’ve just felt the need and the
    call to help them even more.”
    No. 16 in your Calgary
    Roughnecks’ program.
    Making a difference on the floor.
    And off it.