What if your only wish this Christmas was to have somewhere safe and dry to rest?
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy"
– Proverbs 31:8-9
In the Thingangyun Slum in Yangon, Myanmar, our most vulnerable sisters and brothers are living without access to basic human rights.
Secure shelter, running water, education and sanitation are distant wishes for many of them.
But thanks to the support of people like you, the Thingangyun Slum Project is creating lasting, tangible change.
The 200,000 people living in the Thingangyun Slum are amongst the poorest and most vulnerable in the world.
Jesuit Mission Australia’s CEO, Helen Forde, visited the slum and describes it like this: “Walking through the slum is confronting… All the houses are jumbled up, almost on top of one another. And, without infrastructure for waste management it’s very dirty.”
For families living in the slum, life is precarious. Pushed to the very margins of society, most live hand-to-mouth, in tiny shelters cobbled together from discarded wood, iron sheets, and scraps of tarpaulin.
But there is hope.
Thanks to the generosity of people like you, our local partners, Myanmar Jesuit Mission, run the life-changing Thingangyun Slum Project.
The Jesuits are the only major organisation serving and accompanying the most marginalised people in this slum.
Our Thingangyun Slum Project seeks out the poorest of the poor, and identifies families with shelters most in need of repair, like the Chan family.
The Chans – Kashia, Cho and their six children – have been living in the slum for over 20 years in a tiny, ramshackle shelter that left them exposed to the elements day and night.
As Cho is chronically ill, the family rely on the four eldest sons for their income. Scavenging, and selling water, the boys make just $7 a day, so there’s never anything left to save or fix their decaying home.
Without help, the Chans had little hope for change.
But thanks to the support of people like you, the Thingangyun Slum Project built 48 wood and iron shelters in the slum last year. That means, 48 families – 223 individuals – had their homes rebuilt and replaced with clean, weatherproof shelters.
The new shelters cost just $867 to build, but their impact for vulnerable families is profound.
The Chans’ new home has given them more than just shelter.
“Our dignity has been restored,” Kashia told Helen
Although the family still lives from day to day, their new home means they have new hope and a better foundation for a secure future.
The Thingangyun Project also offers microcredit loans to vulnerable families to enable them to develop sustainable livelihoods; and runs two dry, safe Evening Study Centres where students can study and complete homework.
This Christmas please help more families in the Thingangyun Slum have the safe shelter, vital assistance and human dignity they deserve.
$48 can provide business training so a family can make the most of their microcredit loan
$238 can provide a microcredit loan for a family in the slum (for e.g. rickshaw)
$285 can fund a teacher in the Evening Study Centre for six months
$867 can build a new home for a family in the slum