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News : Myanmar
Reverend Mai Ki, the first ordained female minister of the Mara Evangelical Church in Myanmar and Tearfund Inspired Individual, was awarded the annual prize for Women’s Creativity in Rural Life by the Women’s World Summit Foundation (WWSF) for her work to tackle poverty and famine in formerly oppressed Chin State, Myanmar.
Mai Ki grew up in an illiterate farming family in a remote village in Burma. Blessed with exceptional talents and skills, and through sheer perseverance she progressed to obtain a Masters in Theology in India. However her heart remained in the hill country rural villages of Burma, an area oppressed by the Burmese military regime for many years and recently victim of a severe famine, and she returned to there after completing her studies.
With a spirit and passion for social interventions and female empowerment, Rev Mai Ki has inspired and led a number of other community based initiatives to tackle poverty, including promoting animal husbandry, community healthcare projects, skills and training courses and disaster and management relief. Her work has a strong emphasis on women taking the lead in developing themselves and their families.
The award honours creative and courageous women around the world for their contribution to improving the quality of life in rural communities, for protecting the environment, imparting knowledge and standing up for human rights, development and peace. Since it was established in 1994, WWSF has awarded 395 prizes in over 120 countries.
Because of work to tackle poverty through social enterprise in Myanmar, Mai Ki was selected to be part of Tearfund’s Inspired Individuals initiative in 2012. The Inspired Individuals Initiative seeks to identify, resource and connect social entrepreneurs – change agents whose unique vision has the potential to transform the lives of thousands of people living in poverty.
“We could not be more proud of Mai Ki,” said Gary Swart, Inspired Individuals Director at Tearfund UK. “We’re incredibly pleased that other organisations like WWSF are starting to recognise her hard work and dedication to people living in poverty, she truly is an inspiration.”
“I feel really great hope,” says Mai Ki. “God is answering the prayers of believers in Myanmar. As a rural woman, wherever I go I see people having hope and trusting each other. We don’t have change yet, but in our hearts, we do.”
The Dawning of a New Era in Myanmar – 8 May 2012
Up to last year, a military junta had ruled Myanmar for nearly five decades. The rule of the military government was characterised by human rights abuses, increasing poverty and deep-seated corruption.In the remote mountainous regions, one in three children is malnourished and one in five people lacks access to safe water. After Afghanistan Myanmar is the second poorest nation in Asia.
Peace is coming
However, hope is stirring in this nation and there is a movement towards peace and reconciliation. Political prisoners have been freed, oppressive laws have been overturned and the government has signed peace agreements with many of the ethnic minority tribal militias. It is against this backdrop that the April 1st by-election put Aung San Suu Kyi (Leader of the National league for Democracy) into parliament.
Tearfund is working with local churches to help the people of Myanmar rebuild their lives. Houses are being reconstructed, wells are being repaired to provide clean water and families are being provided with seeds and tools to replant their fields. ‘They (returning Kachin refugees) lost everything,’ says Min Nwe, a World Concern staff member, ‘and they are returning with only the clothes they wear. It is planting season so it is essential that the rice seeds are planted soon so families can get a good harvest and feed themselves.’
The people of Myanmar are on the brink of historic times. Please join with us in praying and supporting the people of Myanmar – praying that God’s church will be able to rebuild broken lives.
Please give – to bring them hope and a future.
- €18 can enable Tearfund’s partners to supply emergency food supplies such as rice and lentils
- €55 can provide a family with essential household items, water containers and blankets
- €16 per month (over a year) can help a family restart a small business and become self-sufficient again
Ethnic tribes in Myanmar receive aid – 13 Apr 2011
Tearfund partners are successfully managing to bring vital aid to thousands of isolated villagers hit by a powerful earthquake in eastern Myanmar (Burma) nearly three weeks ago.
About 100 people died and another 150 were injured after a 6.8 magnitude tremor struck Eastern Shan State at the end of last month. Assessments put the number of people affected at 18,000 across 90 villages, with widespread damage to roads, bridges, schools, churches and monasteries. In the 50 most severely affected villages, more than half of all buildings have either been damaged or destroyed.
One church building in the Lahu ethnic community of Kya Kuni collapsed while a large gathering of women were inside, with 25 people reported to have been killed and many more badly injured.
Three Tearfund partners have been working in the affected areas since the immediate aftermath of the quake. Isolated ethnic Akha and Lahu communities, which have received no other outside help, are being assisted by two partners.
Food, water, medical kits, temporary shelter and non-food items, such as cooking utensils, have been supplied and work is progressing to set up a trauma care and support service for those affected. From an initial response in five villages, relief work has spread to 22 villages.
Another partner is offering help to five villages where leprosy is heavily prevalent, once again offering food aid, water and sanitation.
Partner staff also plan to set up Village Relief Committees which will help implement recovery activities, with special attention towards people with disabilities, the elderly, women and children. Using partner expertise on reducing the impact of disasters, homes will be rebuilt so they are better able to withstand future earthquakes and villagers will receive disaster response training.
Land restoration and repairs to water supplies will also be carried out.
Myanmar earthquake - church responds – 1 Apr 2011
Tearfund partner’s are helping people hit by strong earthquakes on March 24th in north east Myanmar (Burma). Tearfund Ireland Chief Executive Reuben Coulter visited these partners in January of this year and met with Burmese church leaders.
Three powerful tremors struck close to northern Thailand and the border with Laos, and more than 100 people died. One of the biggest losses of life was at a church in north east Myanmar where the whole building collapsed killing 25 members and injuring 50 others.
Tearfund partner agencies – Myanmar Baptist Convention (MBC) and Mekong Minority Foundation (MMF) – have jointly initiated an emergency response. They have assessed the imediate needs and are now working in five badly affected communities – providing temporary shelter, food and medical help to affected people. Initial assessments show that the greatest damage and loss of life is in and around the Shan town of Ta Lar, where several dozen structures collapsed.
Tearfund is making emergency funds available to support MBC, MMF and other partners. They are planning immediate relief such as temporary shelter, food rations and meeting basic medical needs – as well as continuing longer-term support for the region. This will include working with communities to reduce the risks when facing further earthquakes and other disasters.
World AIDS Day: Church in China – 1 Dec 2010
World AIDS Day: December 1st
More than two million souls live in the Chinese city of Baoshan which lies in the province of Yunnan near to the border with Myanmar (Burma). This proximity inevitably brings a movement of people between the two countries. The nearness of the infamous Golden Triangle also means a flourishing drugs trade.
Because drugs can be bought easily and cheaply, there’s a human cost in terms of addicts and the transmission of HIV. Latest statistics show there are more than 2,000 people living with HIV in Baoshan.
Through the work of Tearfund partner Cedar Fund, the local church is addressing these issues. A network of churches is working with local government health and social services to transform the lives of people affected by HIV.
Cedar Fund is training pastors in HIV prevention and drug awareness, while also helping them to understand that the church has a role to meet the physical needs of people as well as spiritual ones.
Pastor Xu Chenyun took part in our partner’s training. He said, ‘I started to see the role of the church and that we shouldn’t only focus on what’s happening inside the church itself.
‘Instead we should have knowledge of what’s happening in society and meet the needs with the power of our Lord.’
Pastor Xu has shared his learning, and with church colleagues has built a team to work on HIV prevention and raising awareness. Visiting a drug rehab centre inspired him to get involved in setting one up himself and he now divides his time between it and the church. He’s one of a new generation of church leaders being equipped to meet the pressing social needs of the urban poor and to be a tangible sign of hope where all too often there is none.
- Give thanks for the work of the local church in Yunnan as it meets the needs of people living with HIV and drug addicts.
- Pray that more of the city’s 40 churches develop a wider community awareness and become involved in ministering to the physical and spiritual needs of the people around them.
- Pray for those affected by drug usage and that greater awareness leads to fewer lives lost to addiction.
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