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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Building a secure future; tomorrow and in the years to come in Burma/Myanmar

It is hard not to be overwhelmed by the steady stream of updates about innocent civilians losing their lives around the world as they are caught up in various conflicts. Before we even feel we can get a handle on the complexity of the news from one country, yet another event in another country grabs our attention.

Burma/Myanmar is one example where HOPE International Development Agency has worked for over a decade.

In past years Burma/Myanmar has received a lot of positive attention from the international community for perceived political progress, culminating with the United States restoring full diplomatic relations.

At the same time, the country still faces many challenges and ongoing fighting happening that we do not hear about. While recent headlines focused on talks in Syria and Iran, news about fighting escalating in Kachin state between the Kachin Independence Organization and Burmese Army never reached our ears.

In Kachin and Northern Shan States, for example, there are thousands of families displaced by conflict that have fled their villages in search of safety.

It is estimated that over 100,000 women, men, and children are living in temporary camps where HOPE International Development Agency is working.

The families are very vulnerable as most have lost everything they owned and many are separated from other family members.

Every day is a challenge to find food, water, and shelter and sanitation facilities are not adequate to meet the needs of so many people. Many people arriving in the camps are sick, injured, or traumatized, including a large number of children. Those in greatest need include women-headed households, unaccompanied children (girls in particular), pregnant women, and women with young children.

HOPE International Development Agency is committed to supporting a peaceful transition in the country for the long term, and is also concentrating its efforts on saving lives and providing basic services to these families that have lost so much already.

Right now, this means providing things like clothing and shelter, access to latrines and a nearby source of clean water, and building schools so that education of children is not interrupted.

While we partner with communities striving for peaceful, long-term solutions, there are still many immediate needs that we are also meeting so that the children and youth especially can have a secure future, both tomorrow and in years to come.

(L) Displaced families participate in community work 
to install a water system that will bring clean water 
to thousands of families living in the temporary camp.

(R) Community members connect water 

pipes that will bring clean water to the camp.

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