Foto: Better Burma
MiA-Compassion in Action is pleased to provide additional support to our partner country Myanmar with your help this year.
Together with Buddhist Global Relief, we are sponsoring an emergency relief project by Better Burma, a U.S.-based nonprofit NGO that provides targeted food to those in need, especially internally displaced persons.
In addition to this emergency relief project, Better Burma is committed to these goals, among others:
Emergency relief for vulnerable communities. Funds are used for medical supplies, food, clean water, shelter, and other basic needs in refugee camps.
Sustainable community development programs. For example, they support an education project for refugee children of the Chin ethnic group in Mizoram and community assistance programs for displaced villagers in the Sagaing region.
In Mizoram (Indian territory between Bangladesh and Myanmar), there are many Chin refugee children who have fled there to escape the violence of the Burmese military. The fate of these children is heartbreaking: they have experienced displacement, insecurity, and uncertainty, all at a young age. Although refugee camps provide a safe haven from the ongoing violence, they often lack basic facilities and resources. Access to education, healthcare, and adequate nutrition is limited, which continues to negatively impact the physical and mental well-being of these children. However, BETTER BURMA believes that providing educational opportunities plays a critical role in the lives of these children, not only providing them with knowledge and skills, but also offering them stability, hope, and a path to a better future. To this end, BETTER BURMA has sponsored a number of initiatives. In addition to purchasing educational materials, we are currently working on a project to complete a total of eight schools in Mizoram, which together will provide education for over 800 refugee children. By investing in education and providing educational spaces, we hope to help provide a sense of normalcy and stability for refugee children.
BETTER BURMA is also working with HEALING HANDS, a locally based organization focused on providing vital medical supplies in the Sagaing region near Mandalay. Access to clean water and sanitation is limited in the area, and a focus in this joint project is the purchase and distribution of deworming tablets, which are critical to preventing parasitic infections and promoting children's health. BETTER BURMA also supports HEALING HANDS in providing vital medical education programs in rural communities. To address the challenge of bringing qualified medical personnel to rural areas, HEALING HANDS has developed a practical approach: trainings that cover basic medical care and first aid. To date, 150 people have completed these training programs. HEALING HANDS has also set up and stocked medical facilities in the Sagaing region, which are served by these graduates. By providing aid and equipping local communities with basic medical skills, Healing Hands is playing a critical role in addressing urgent medical needs in the region affected by ongoing violence and military repression.
Another area where BETTER BURMA is actively involved in supporting the people of Myanmar is through charitable monastic schools. Although monks and nuns have been victims of arrests, torture, and even deaths, monastic schools have proven to be a beacon of hope despite these adversities by providing free education, shelter, and meals to needy children. These charitable convent schools provide spaces for children of all backgrounds and religions. BETTER BURMA supports these convent schools by identifying their urgent needs and providing needed resources such as stationery and hygiene products. By helping these schools, Better Burma is helping to ensure that children in need receive an education, and with it, the chance for a better future.
We hope, thanks to you, that together we will be able to alleviate some of the hardship of the local people and we would be happy if this action would develop into a long-term project work.
Text: Manfred Wierich/Olivia Haas
Bhikkhu Bodhi (our patron) in an English language interview about Engaged Buddhism and the situation in Myanmar: Audio online.