Recently Fr. Noel Naw Lat, Director of the Karuna Myitkyina Social Services in Myanmar, wrote to me about the ongoing struggle of Burmese people displaced by military conflict. Knowing our long history of accompanying the Burmese people, Fr. Noel appealed to us for help.
On June 9, 2011, the 17 years of cease fire between the Myanmar Government and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) ended when fighting erupted around the KIO-held Bum Sen camp. In the last ten months, thousands of people have lost their houses, land, properties, and they have moved to remote refugee camps where they must wait, and wait for the opportunity to return home. Since these camps are in very remote and mountainous areas that are under KIO control, only faith based organizations can offer humanitarian assistance. The transportation and communication are difficult to establish, and the weather is ice cold. Since the people settling in these camps had to leave their homes very urgently, they could not bring clothes, blankets or anything else. They are in dire need of food, clothing and shelter.
We have the opportunity to aide 257 families with 1,136 family members in three camps as well as 617 students in another camp. Together with the camp management committee, Karuna staff are operating all the activities in these camps and will continue with the same procedures as the humanitarian code of conduct. We already set up a coordinating office in Ying Chyiang, China, and assigned one coordinator.
Our goal is to provide the basic human needs for 257 families and access to education for 617 students. With your assistance, we will:
Provide food, clothing, shelter and medicine for the families
Ensure safe drinking water
Ensure the education of the children with school materials
Provide access to health care
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ Matt 2:13
Jesus, Mary and Joseph were the first refugees of the Christian era, although countless others were to become refugees as well. And, today, the world is full of the persecuted, the hunted and the unwanted through whom Christ begs for assistance and love. Now it is our task to help those who are suffering and in need.
Fr. Noel humbly requested $112,326.00 to aid the displaced families. Please become the light that shines through the darkness of these wretched days. Your donation provides more than food, clothing and shelter. It brings hope, hope to a people cut off from the world but never forgotten. Your prayers of solidarity with the Burmese people are so desperately needed. Together, we make a difference.
Gratefully yours in Christ,
The Columban Fathers