Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: November 02, 2023

A Clinic Without Walls in Myanmar

Myanmar* is a country in crisis. And with no apparent end in sight, our Salesian missionaries on the ground have adjusted their ongoing relief efforts to bring critical aid directly into the hands of those who need it most.

“I’m not exaggerating when I say, ‘it can’t happen soon enough,’” says Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions. “Millions of already-vulnerable people are suffering through a dire humanitarian crisis that most of us barely even know about. There’s simply too much heartbreak in too many places around the world already in the headlines. But right this minute, these impoverished men, women and children don’t have the food, water, shelter or medical care they need to survive.”

Through no fault of their own, they’re caught up in Myanmar’s ongoing political turmoil, which has sent citizens into a dangerous spiral of conflict and poverty. Military clashes have driven them in fear from their homes, and these displaced families have now been cut off from communications, supplies and services. More than half of the population is desperately impoverished as a result, and over 17 million people need humanitarian aid.

Even before these developments, Salesian missionaries in Myanmar had planned to open a new medical clinic—a way to bring much-needed health care and dignity to the underserved.

“As one of the least-developed countries in the world, Myanmar simply can’t fulfill even the most basic needs for its people,” Fr. Tim explains. “Thanks to our many generous donors, our Salesian missionaries serving there were ready to start equipping the medical clinic with critical supplies. But the current situation has created a major obstacle which has forced them to pivot their plan for the clinic.”

Our missionaries realized that doctors would not be able to reach the clinic to see patients because of ongoing political crises throughout Myanmar. Soon it became clear that the need for care was going to be so much greater than what our missionaries could provide in their own community. So, they refocused their efforts toward sending vital medicine to displaced people in need. When they couldn’t establish a direct connection to individual people, missionaries sent funding to trusted local contacts, who purchased medicine and other medical supplies as a way to help address the overwhelming demand.

“While it may seem like a drop in the bucket, this generosity from our friends is truly making a real difference for people in need,” Fr. Tim says.

And our missionaries on the ground agree. “I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for the financial support donors have provided for the poor people who are staying in our communities and in refugee camps in different parts of our country,” said Father Khun Myat Victor, provincial economer in Myanmar. “With generous support from kind donors, so far we have been able to provide basic health care for 500 people.” And that number is continuing to rise on a daily basis.

Learn more about our work in Myanmar.

Our mission responds to changing needs during times of crisis and brings essential relief to those who need it most. What’s your mission?

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*Any goods, services, or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.