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Myanmar

Myanmar is one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 148 out of 188 countries according to the 2015 Human Development Report. More than a quarter of Myanmar’s population lives in poverty with the poverty rate rising 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.

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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.

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 held a medical clinic for people living in Anisakan, a remote village in Myanmar. Many poor residents in the village have nowhere else to turn for regular health care.

More than 2,000 patients who suffer from various kinds of illness were able to access medical care. Patients were given medication, some for up to six months, all free of charge. Doctors also performed minor surgery. In addition, dentists were available to provide care for patients, many who had never had a dental visit in their life.

While the medical clinic was happening, Salesian Father John Jeon Bok Nam, together with his youth volunteer group, went around Anisakan village and distributed rice to the poorest families. They also rid the environment of mosquitoes with mosquito killer sprays, cutting down on mosquito-borne illnesses that affect the local community. In addition, they painted the guesthouse of the seminary to improve its appearance.

Images

From Myanmar

From Myanmar

Sparking Children’s Curiosity in Myanmar

It sounds like something out of a movie: a young missionary, serving amid an isolated rural tribe, saving a newborn’s life and forever ingratiating himself to the people. Yet this is exactly what Father Charles Sau Thi Han Lwing

Shining Light on Mandalay’s Homeless Youth

The streets of Mandalay, Myanmar are no place for a child. Yet today, hundreds of girls and boys — some as young as four years old — call it their “home.” At the Don Bosco Friend of Youth Center, Father Peter Myo K

Salesian Missionaries: Always Ready When Disaster Strikes

This past August, an unusually active summer monsoon season unleashed nature’s full fury on the people of Myanmar. Relentless and torrential rains triggered devastating floods and destructive mudslides that killed more than

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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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