In 2021, St Rita’s Boarding House in Myanmar provided care for children in a country overwhelmed by civil war and ongoing internal conflict.
As one of Asia’s poorest countries, Myanmar has been in turmoil for many years. But in 2021, a military coup threw the country into further conflict. Myanmar’s leader, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, is in prison. Since her arrest, there have been widespread protests, killings and armed resistance across the country.
So many hardships
Families continue to experience social and economic hardship, in addition to being subjected to brutal force by the military.
In December 2021, Myanmar’s Cardinal Charles Bo shared:
‘The whole of our beloved Myanmar is now a war zone. I appeal to all those holding guns to put down their weapons. I urge Myanmar’s military… to stop bombing and shelling innocent people, to stop destroying homes and churches, schools and clinics, and to begin a dialogue with the democracy movement and the ethnic armed groups’.
In Myanmar, 20% of children do not complete primary school and even fewer attend school from the age of 10. State education is free but standards are poor, classroom facilities are under-equipped and morale amongst teachers is low.
Many children from underprivileged families finish school at an early age and end up working in the rice fields to earn little money to buy food. The physical labour and long hours mean that the children have no time to study, make new friends and play.
How Missio is helping
Since the nationalisation of mission schools in the early 1960s and the ban on Catholic education services, the Church has been running boarding houses. These boarding houses are located in remote areas to support the most vulnerable children who must study in state-run schools, far from home.
With your support, the Sisters who maintain the boarding houses offer a safe and nurturing ‘home away from home’, providing food and basic care for the children. You have been essential in helping the Sisters supplement the children’s learning, provide uniforms, school equipment and motivate the children to continue their studies.
Without the Sisters, and their practical and spiritual support, these students risk joining the thousands of children who drop out of education to join under-age workers who are destined for a life of poverty and missed opportunities.
In England and Wales, Missio helps children’s projects through our children’s branch, Mission Together. And much of the money raised for projects comes directly from school children.
They learn about our global family at school, and raise money for children in need overseas.
Without the tireless commitment of volunteers, teachers and children who fundraise for us throughout the year, we wouldn’t be able to reach children like those in Myanmar.
Children in England and Wales have learned about children in Myanmar through our special Together In Myanmar project. Our Together In… resources highlight some of our many projects supporting children across the world. Including an exploration of the country, customs, and an insight into the communities Mission Together supports.
With your help, Missio England and Wales distributed £163,055 to children’s projects in 2021.
There are currently 400 boarding houses across Myanmar looking after thousands of children, regardless of their background and beliefs. The Religious Sisters who care for the children at the boarding house let them know that they belong to God’s family and that there are people living thousands of miles away, who care about them, pray for them and share with them.
Help us continue our vital work. Please donate to Missio today>>