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Myanmar

Myanmar is one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 145 out of 188 countries according to the 2017 Human Development Report. Just more than 37 percent of people still live near or below the poverty line in the country. Poverty rates rise sharply to 70 percent for those living in rural areas. Only about half of school age children complete their primary education.

Salesian missionaries are responding to the needs of children, youth and their families who are in crisis. Not only do programs address desperate poverty, but they also serve people whose lives have recently been destroyed by natural disasters and a refugee emergency.

More Missions In Myanmar

Build primary & secondary schools

Salesian missionaries in Pang Wai, a territory in northeastern Myanmar inhabited by isolated tribes, are planning to develop a network of small primary schools to ensure that youth in the region have access to education. The area is on the border of China and is a region of extremely dangerous rebels. It is a mountainous area, characterized by precious stone mines, especially rubies. Hunting is the main source of basic food but also the reason for repeated conflicts between one village and the next.

Facilitating a large educational project is not the easiest of tasks in Pang Wai, but Salesian missionaries are committed to opening schools in four villages. First, they plan to restore and reuse a number of old school buildings, which have been long neglected and are now used as a place where animals seek shelter. After more than five years of neglect, many roofs have collapsed or are crumbling. The walls are dirty and fallen in.

Salesian missionaries want to focus on the education of the youngest children, teaching them a foundational education along with the basic principles of respect for human dignity and social life. The school will educate local children 12 years and younger. Educators will begin to teach them to read and write with activities and group games. The tribal chiefs have agreed to this educational project, which is a guarantee of security and community involvement.

Rescue children facing adversity

Salesian missionaries offer life-changing programs for youth living on the streets in Mandalay. Youth are often targeted by traffickers, predators and gang recruiters. In order to feed themselves, youth must beg for money and collect bottles and cans to sell. But too often this is not enough. If they are too conspicuous or assertive with their efforts, the police may throw them in jail, where they are locked together in overcrowded cells with no rights.

When these homeless and falsely jailed youth reach the age of 16, they are offered a choice to either be released with no money, no job, no education and nowhere to go or join the army, where they will be housed, fed and clothed. It’s a false choice, but one many of them are forced to make.

Several times each week, outreach workers fan out into the darkest corners of Mandalay’s streets, introducing themselves to the children, working to gain their trust and inviting them to access the youth center’s services. Once at the Don Bosco Friend Youth Center, vulnerable youth can begin to rebuild their lives. At the Center, youth have time for education, rest, meditation and prayer. Many return to school.

Provide technical & vocational training

The Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Myitkyina launched a new school. Students are attending courses in carpentry, welding, electricity, automotive, tailoring, dressmaking and beautician programs. Over the last 11 years, more than 500 young men and women, aged 18 to 25 years, have graduated from its programs.

Because the school is located in the northernmost part of Myanmar within the Kachin State, which has a long history of armed conflict, some of the graduates were orphans and children from broken families.

The school also provides room and board to its students and instructors. All of the buildings at the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center are wooden construction, with few walls made of bricks or cement. Salesian missionaries would like one day to be able to expand the boarding house to help graduates who already have jobs but have no place to stay in Myitkyina. They would also like to look at expanding the programs that are currently offered.

While students are not attending their classroom and on-the-job training, there are daily chores on the large farm and afternoon sports including kickball, soccer and volleyball. Students also attend prayer lessons and orientation sessions.

In addition, Salesian missionaries have been offering a motorcycle repair course since 2013 through the Don Bosco Friend Youth Center in Mandalay. The center was developed to help youth who are living on the streets access services and education.

The facility provides temporary shelter, food, health care, and formal and non-formal education. Close to 30 boys, aged 4 to 18, live at the center permanently while dozens more access services on a drop-in basis.

The motorcycle repair course is educating 15 youth, aged 17 to 24, in the program this year. Youth perform major repairs and are in the workshop every day, except on Sundays, to learn all there is to know about the motorcycle trade. The course provides them with professional skills in motorcycle and car repair along with welding, and it even provides them driving lessons.

Respond to disasters & emergencies

In 2015, Salesian missionaries provided crucial emergency relief and helped flood victims displaced by the heavy monsoon rain and flooding that affected Myanmar. The scale of the devastation was massive. A BBC report noted that nearly 1 million people were affected by the widespread flooding across the country. Salesian missionaries living and working in the region responded to the situation with aid for the flood victims, many who lost everything.

In addition, Salesian missionaries in the town of Namtu in the northeastern Shan State provided shelter and assistance to 120 people, mostly women and children, displaced by clashes between the Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim population, and Myanmar’s security forces. Frightened by the clashes, Salesian missionaries initially sheltered 160 people, including 50 children, when the violence first occurred in November 2016.

Many still remained sheltered at the Salesian parish because their homes were destroyed or they still feared for their safety. Because Salesian missionaries live within the communities they serve, they are perfectly positioned to respond in times of crisis. Salesian missionaries will remain through the long recovery process helping the many families who will be forced to rebuild their homes and salvage their livelihoods.

Improve health services

Salesian missionaries have re-opened the Father Giacomin Medical Clinic, located in Anisakhan, Pyin Oo Lwin, Mandalay Region of Myanmar, thanks to the Salesian provincial house and the local Salesian planning and development office. Salesian missionaries are grateful for the support of donors and volunteers who made this possible.

The medical clinic has two volunteer doctors. Han Zaw Htun M.B., B.S. and Thu Thu Nyein M.B., B.S., are a husband and wife team from the local area. Salesian missionaries are working to secure two more doctors from Pyin Oo Lwin.

The clinic will be open three days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. when people are usually back from work. One college student volunteer will be keeping records during office hours. Basic equipment and medicines have all been provided to the clinic.

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From Myanmar

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Agriculture Training Programs

Salesian Missions includes agriculture in its vocational training programs – to ensure that youth of Rwanda learn better agricultural practices as well as keep the school self-sustaining in the face of the country’s food shortages.

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Feed a Child

Salesian Missions includes agriculture in its vocational training programs – to ensure that youth of Rwanda learn better agricultural practices as well as keep the school self-sustaining in the face of the country’s food shortages.

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Technology Program

Salesian Missions includes agriculture in its vocational training programs – to ensure that youth of Rwanda learn better agricultural practices as well as keep the school self-sustaining in the face of the country’s food shortages.

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