Home>June 2024>Voices from inside Myanmar

Voices from inside Myanmar

Thank you for standing in solidarity with the people of Myanmar, your support is a lifeline to people in desperate need. Myanmar remains in a tragic state of humanitarian crisis, which is getting worse. Compulsory conscription for all young men and women is driving Myanmar's youth flee the country, rather than be forced to join those who've long persecuted them, their families, and their nation.

Jesuit Mission Australia spoke to Father Mark Raper SJ, a long-time friend of the Jesuit Mission Australia family, and across Asia Pacific, and a local social worker (pseudonym Mia), who is bravely working with a local church organisation on the ground to assist internally displaced people.

"Myanmar is now a humanitarian, human rights, political and economic catastrophe. The United Nations report that a third of the population, 18 to 19 million people, are in great humanitarian need, of whom 6 million at least are children,” said Fr Mark.

"The military coup happened in February 2021...Since then, my family and I have been displaced many times in different places,” said Mia.

"For more than three years we have not been able to go home and I haven’t seen my father for over a year,” said Mia.

Being displaced herself, Mia and her team are working to provide education and other emergency lifesaving responses to those living in internally displaced camps. Thanks to your generosity, the team are focusing on improving the well-being of youth and bringing new initiatives to uplift communities.

These communities are living in temporary shelters built with tarpaulin sheets and bamboo, unsafe from the rain and wind, and the artillery, air strikes from the military. People struggle for their basic needs and many have no income or job in these camps.

"My motivation to serve our people is because I have witnessed the suffering of Myanmar, and as a displaced person I have experienced it myself,” said Mia.

Some youth serve as volunteer teachers at the school, however, there is a high dropout rate in the middle and high school level for many reasons. Many have great difficulty accessing basic education and many of the male students are joining the resistance to fight against the military.

"We experience artillery shelling, and air strikes every day. Since these are indiscriminate, we don't know where or when the air strikes will drop. So every day people live with fear, uncertainties and trauma,” said Mia.

Our partners are continuing to provide education to more than 2,000 students across three education institutions and community colleges. They continue to enhance access to safe and quality education for over 5,000 children living in Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps. And they continue to prioritise emergency relief such as medicines, shelter, food and clothing to those who are displaced and trapped.

Your support has a big impact on the youth and next generation of leaders in Myanmar, for the continuity of their education, their protection, and their wellbeing.

"Now is the time for us to accompany and elicit hope among the youth and with your solidarity to reverence in them, both the human and the divine, for the greater glory of God. Thank you," said Fr Mark.

If you would like to support the people of Myanmar, you can show your solidarity by making a donation to our Emergency Action Fund today.

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