Our partnership with the East Asian Pastoral Institute (EAPI) encourages indigenous communities to recognise their leadership potential and overcome their history of adversity and struggle.We strive to build the capacity of communities from a grassroots level, in order to enhance their skills and strengthen community life. Representing only 3% of Myanmar’s total population, the Kachins are among the most persecuted ethnic tribal groups in Myanmar. Located in areas submerged in decades of armed conflict, government oppression and chronic poverty, the Kachins, as Christians, often turn to the church for support and belonging. Similarly, in Papua New Guinea many indigenous minorities face socio-economic inequality, corruption and increasingly, ecological injustices related to commercial exploitation. Local church leaders are fundamental in promoting grassroots communities and community-led development programs. Jesuit Mission and East Asian Pastoral Institute (EAPI), provide capacity building programs for the local churches in both Myanmar and Papua New Guinea, activating the advancement and self-determination of indigenous groups in the Catholic Community. In Myanmar, St Luke’s College provides a training program that prepares new lay leaders in a comprehensive way to serve their communities, with EAPI additionally providing consultancy to improve the governance and organisation of the program. EAPI has also partnered with local pastoral institutes and dioceses in Papua New Guinea to provide workshops and retreats at the local level, so as to reach out to a larger target group. Our long-term aim is to help the local churches establish or strengthen relevant institutions so that there is more systemic and sustainable capacity building within Myanmar and Papua New Guinea that also protects the environment. These initiatives are vital to minority groups who are have been oppressed and have lacked basic education and development opportunities.
“Myanmar continues to undergo a critical time in its development. Both the Church as well as the Society of Jesus greatly desire to play a more active role in nation-building and reconciliation. PNG also faces increasing social, economic, cultural and ecological challenges, and the local church is in great need of developing its personnel and institutions. EAPI’s engagements in these countries help enhance the Society’s accompaniment of these churches.”