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More than 5000 children are living in Internally Displaced People camps (Jesuit Mission)

Thousands of Australians will walk in solidarity with the people of Myanmar on St Ignatius Day, July 31, by taking part in One Foot Raised. Source: Jesuit Mission.

One Foot Raised challenges participants to walk, raise awareness and much-needed funds for Jesuit Mission’s life-giving work in Myanmar and communities in crisis. 

A number of prominent Australian Jesuit schools and parishes have already signed up for the challenge, and Jesuit Mission Australia is encouraging other Catholic schools, parishes and groups to join the campaign for justice in Myanmar.

“Myanmar is now a humanitarian, human rights, political and economic catastrophe. The United Nations reports that a third of the population, 18 to 19 million people, are in great humanitarian need, of whom 6 million at least are children,” said Australian Jesuit Fr Mark Raper SJ, a long-time friend of the Jesuit Mission Family, and previous Superior of Myanmar Jesuit Region.

Millions of internally displaced people are living in temporary shelters built with tarpaulin sheets and bamboo, unsafe from the rain and wind, and the increasing indiscriminate artillery and air strikes from the military. People are living in fear and struggle for their basic needs with limited food, water, income and jobs available in these camps.

Speaking anonymously from Myanmar, a staff member of one of Jesuit Mission’s projects shared her story of surviving years of conflict, multiple displacements to flee for safety, and her motivation to work in one of the thousands of camps for displaced people. Sadly, her story is common to most people in Myanmar, as is the tenderness of her closing words: “We’d like to say to our international brothers and sisters not to forget us. At the same time, we are very thankful to all of you for your solidarity and kindness. Your support has a big impact on our children for their continuity of their learning, their protection and their well-being.”

The generous and compassionate support from the Australian Catholic community has enabled Jesuit Mission Australia to provide a beacon of hope for some of Myanmar’s most vulnerable women, men and children for about two decades.

Jesuit Mission’s partners are continuing to provide education to more than 2000 students across three education institutions and community colleges, and improving access to safe and quality education for more than 5000 children living in Internally Displaced People camps.  And they continue to prioritise emergency relief such as medicines, shelter, food and clothing to those who are displaced and trapped.

Jesuit Mission Australia’s CEO Helen Forde has called on Australians to inspire hope for Myanmar’s youth and walk in the footsteps of St Ignatius on July 31.

“Walking together, we can shine a light on the urgent needs of the people in Myanmar and offer them a lifeline of support and hope. Our steps symbolise the solidarity and compassion we share with those facing unimaginable challenges,” Ms Forde said.

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Australians to walk in the footsteps of St Ignatius for the people of Myanmar (Jesuit Mission)