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“The disaster that is Myanmar at the moment has disappeared from the news”

  • 24 May 2022

While the world’s attention is on the horrific war in Ukraine, the Jesuits in Myanmar are doing everything they can to accompany the people who have had their lives turned upside down by the brutal military regime that took control in a violent coup d’état in February 2021. Fr Mark, the former Jesuit Superior for Myanmar decried in an interview last week that “the disaster that is Myanmar at the moment has disappeared from the news”.

The people of Myanmar have come through many struggles and hardships, but the current collision of military coup, Covid-19 and the collapse of the economy have cruelly tested this most resilient population of 54 million.

The Myanmar crisis so far in figures[1]:

  • 566,000+ people displaced by violence
  • 7000+ homes destroyed
  • 1800+ people deliberately killed by the military

The Jesuits are active in four different regions of Myanmar with the focus of their work being in education, which they have been able to keep partially running online, despite the military regime restricting internet access. With the country is on the brink of economic collapse, and over half of the population pushed below the poverty line, many students have been forced to abandon their studies for economic reasons and their schools face enormous challenges.

Jesuit Missions is supporting the Jesuits in Myanmar throughout this period with a two-year project which will enable their higher-education institutions to function by offering scholarships to the poorest students. There is an emphasis on those who have been displaced, training teachers in counselling skills as well as online teaching and safeguarding, and improving the technology resources in the schools. More than 1000 students and teachers will benefit from this project during the next two years.

To watch Fr Mark’s interview in full, please see here:

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[1] Humanitarian Update No.17, 19 April 2022, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs