Myanmar - Salesian missions in the country: a service for the smile of the poorest children

05 October 2017

(ANS - Yangon) - Despite recent efforts, at all levels, Myanmar remains one of Asia's poorest countries, with 32.7% of the population below the poverty line and an economy suffering from decades of stagnation, poor management and isolation. Fr Giordano Piccinotti, SDB, on behalf of the "Opera Don Bosco" Foundation,an NGO, recently made a trip to the country to discover the areas of vulnerability and the Salesian's commitment in facing these issues.

In Mandalay, Myanmar's second most populous city, the phenomenon of street children is extremely worrying. Street children live on the margins of society under inhumane conditions: they have no access to education, use drugs, feed on scraps of food, and only rarely do they find small jobs to do - stealing is the most common activity. The juvenile prison is in pitiful conditions, with a scarcity of food, no medical care. The only educational actions offered in the penitentiary, despite the few means available, are carried out by the Salesians.

In Mandalay there is only one reception center for street children: the "Don Bosco Youth Center." Established in 2014, and managed directly by the Salesians, with the few resources available, the center currently hosts 25 children and young people between the ages of 9 and 16. The Salesians would like to increase the center's capacity to 75 people and train the staff to support the center's guests and to provide education to the children in the juvenile prison.

Elsewhere, in Hlaling Thar Yar, it is the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians who operate locally. The nuns offer education, some food, water, and health care for the children of the local families who, being poor and working hard long hours in camps or large factories, are unable to take care of the children as they deserve to be.

At the end of his trip, Fr Piccinotti concludes: "Here, every child has a story to tell. Each child has a tear to shed. Each child has a smile to donate. I have decided to leave my heart here to them!"


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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