Over December and January we’ve been hard at work serving remote communities in southern Chin and northern Rakhine States.
Our team have had the privilege to visit many remote tribes who rarely receive visitors or support from outside their own communities.
Over the next few days and weeks we’ll be sharing some of the stories and photographs of this work.
Today’s news post covers our visit to the Laymyochin.
Our three main areas of practical focus were:
- Distributing medicines to our Community Health Workers
- Running free clinics in the villages
- Distributing food relief
However, our team soon realised, that while our focus on health, education and food security were important, the biggest impact the work was having was in the hearts of the people.
For many of us reading this post, having somebody tell us that we are loved, having someone to care for us, or even someone to simply ask us ‘how are you?’ is a regular and daily occurrence. But for many of the villagers we met, even the gentle, sincere, caring question, ‘how are you?’ is a rare occurrence.
Many remote tribes in this area live in constant fear of outsiders who threaten to take their land. They have been told by others that the reason they are sick is because they are poor, dirty and worthless. They have been denied recognition of their own identity, through the rejection of their language and culture… they are seen as the last and the least in the worlds’ eyes.
But we had the privilege of being welcomed into their communities, the joy of feasting together even with the little that we had, and the opportunity to share their pain and suffering. Most importantly, all that we shared, we shared as equals, valuing every moment of their warm hospitality.
Vice President of Myanmar visits Health and Hope’s work
We were absolutely delighted to host Vice President U Henry Van Thio in Lailenpi on Monday 27th February.
The Vice President arrived by helicopter, along with Deputy Minister Major-General Than Htut and Union Minister U Thant Sin Maung among others.
During the visit, the Vice President reviewed the work of Health and Hope, the proposal for building of an airstrip in Lailenpi and inspected the progress of development work within Lailenpi Town.
Over 2,000 townspeople, led by Dr Sasa, got hard to work to prepare for his arrival - even constructing two helipads to safely receive him!
A meeting was held in the sports field in the centre of Lailenpi where Dr Sasa proposed support for the betterment of roads, schools, the hospital, energy and communication for the people of the town.
We are so grateful to Vice President U Henry Van Thio and all the visiting dignitaries who gracefully supported many of these proposals and for their commitment to the people of Lailenpi and Chin State.
28th February 2017
Vehicle Appeal - Update!
Thank you! In just under two weeks, Health and Hope supporters have helped to raise the whole of the appeal budget for the new vehicle for Dr Sasa and our team in Myanmar!
We are so grateful for your generous support. We've had a wonderful response to the appeal and the team are delighted.
We have managed to secure the new vehicle and it comes with a whole host of additional extras such as underbody protection, additional lighting and a winch for emergencies.
The funds you have helped raise will also contribute towards the first year of maintenance costs, in addition to part of the salary for a driver and mechanic to accompany Dr Sasa during the gruelling 4-5 days drive it takes to reach isolated villages in southern Chin State.
Thank you so much to all who have been in contact with us and for those who have given so generously to this appeal.
4th February 2017
Just imagine you've been driving 10 to 12 hours a day for three days solid on winding dirt roads. The last 50 mile stretch entailed navigating at less than 13 miles per hour through choking dust along cliffs with sheer drop-offs. You've just passed a section of the road where it narrowed into what seemed like less than a single car width and you're forced to make a quick manoeuvre around the remnants of another landslide.
Bouncing along inside the twenty-year old vehicle, which yesterday had to be repaired with parts made from bamboo, are your team who've placed their lives in your hands. They're joining you for a six week expedition.
Your mission: to deliver medicines and healthcare training to Community Health Workers, the only source of medical support to remote villagers within five days walk.
It's now an eight day trek to get back to base, there's no phone signal and you haven't seen another vehicle for the last three hours. As you shout to be heard over an unexpected downpour of rain, you hit a rock. You manage to control the car into the corner but an old man is in the road on the other side. You slam on the breaks but the car doesn't stop...
Dr Sasa was in a similar position to this recently, but miraculously, the old man suffered only very minor injuries. However, the car Dr Sasa is using, is now beyond worthwhile repair.
He needs our help.
In order to reach 100+ more villages in southern Chin State before the end of March, we need to raise funds for a new vehicle to help bring hope to communities who have no healthcare.
Can you help raise a target of £18,200 to cover the purchase and maintenance cost of a second-hand 4x4?
Over the next two months, a new vehicle would enable the team to:
- provide in-situ refresher training to 200 Community Health Workers
- distribute 1,000 dignity kits to vulnerable women
- run free medical clinics for an estimated 4,000 villagers
- support the distribution of multivitamins to pregnant women and children
And most importantly, bring hope.
Last year many villagers the team met were living in constant fear from outsiders. They had been turned away from clinics and hospitals in the past by medical professionals who had told them they were only unwell because they were 'poor and dirty'. These villagers were therefore blown away at the visit from our teams, who come to offer them something freely, caring for them with love and respect.
If you can help Dr Sasa and the team financially, please click here to give via our website.
Thank you so much for your continuing support of this transformative work.
22nd January 2017
In December we hosted over 70 of our Community Health Workers (CHWs) and Area Coordinators for refresher training in preventative healthcare at our base in Lailenpi.
There was an opportunity to review core topics as well as identify the top ten common diseases faced by villagers in rural areas of western Myanmar.
Time was spent at our training centre sharing experiences and documenting challenges faced in the field, including developing ideas for posters and leaflets for use in the communities.
The CHWs left incredibly encouraged and grateful to all who have supported this work and provided so generously for its ongoing development.
31st December 2016
Over the last few months we've been busy providing training to Community Health Workers and Traditional Birth Attendants in Chin State.
We're really grateful for the support we have received from the wonderful team at Birthlink UK, for their hard work, technical expertise and incredible resilience in travelling out to Chin State.
The aim of the training is to safeguard the health and wellbeing of mothers and their new-born babies in the poorest and most vulnerable communities in remote rural areas through improving the skills of untrained birth attendants.
Many of the women walked up to 5 days through the jungle to attend the interactive training session and it was great for our team to hear how prior training had been put into practice to save the lives of numerous new-born babies over the past two years.
Health and Hope is a partnership between Health and Hope UK and Health and Hope Myanmar. Health and Hope UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England under Company No. 08290412 and Charity No. 1151105. Health and Hope Myanmar is registered in Myanmar under NGO Registration No. 0264.