By: A Staff Volunteer Writer of Mary K. Yap Foundation
Among the 14 divisions and states in Myanmar, the Rakhine State has its own share of cultural and social challenges in the newly democratically elected country. This is because of the ongoing ethnic conflicts, sectarian violence and religious differences which have torn Rakhine State for decades.
Due to these unfavorable conditions, many children are impacted in ways that can’t be described and explained. To date, the United Nations does not have the exact statistic on the number of displaced children from the recent genocide as described by the UN’s special envoy, ‘Yang Hee Lee’, who recently visited Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State, on Jan 16, 2016.
“By talking directly to affected community members, I could in fact place them and their family’s lives at risk. Yet even more distressing is that many of those I speak tell me they are willing to take the risk,” according to the statement released by Yang Hee Lee in Mizzima journal online news, dated on January 21, 2017. Source: http://www.mizzima.com/news-domestic/un-releases-full-text-yanghee-lees-.... It is true that many innocent families are fleeing Rakhine because of continued state’s religious clashes which forced many to be displaced and leave their homes.
In addition to the special envoy’s remarks, one can possibly imagine the neglected life of these displaced children and the daily challenges that they face especially after many have been scattered, relocated, and separated from their parents. Although the local authorities in the Rakhine State as well as other international NGOs are doing their best to solve many issues, the life of these needed children is never adequate and almost and always, fall below expectations.
As part of our annual fundraising efforts, the Mary K. Yap Foundation ushered a community of donors from all walks of life in the San Francisco Bay Area, bringing together one united message to support these forgotten children from Rakhine State. Through the recommendations received from our special programs committee Chair, Peter K. Yap, for the Mary K. Yap Foundation, the committee successfully connected with friends and supporters from the church community in Myanmar. Through the number of exchanges and dialogues, the orphanage organization of the Sacred Heart Church, from Sittwe Township, in the Rakhine State, where 25 orphans found homage, was selected by the board as the recipient in the 16th annual charity event in San Francisco on June 9, 2016.
The members of the staff, management, and our group of passionate volunteers joined hands to support the orphan cause in Rakhine state where we successfully raised charitable funds for the 25 needy orphans of the Sacred Heart Church by way of ticket sales from the on-stage performances, music shows, and from coupon sales of traditional Myanmar food. More than 400 guests from the Myanmar community participated.
Please visit our photo gallery for more at (www.myanmarorphans.org/gallery)
About Sacred Heart Church, Sittwe
Sittwe Parish was established in 1874 BC as what was called as the Holy Cross Fathers. In 1937 the Parish was handed to the Missionary of La Selette from United States of America. The Parish was ultimately handed down to clergy from 1976 to present time. Sittwe Parish is comprised of Sittwe and Kyauk Taw Township. In the entire parish, there are only 100 catholic families.
At present, two Priests and four sisters from our lady of mission (RNDM) Religious Community are the administrators of the parish. Sisters are serving the nursery school by themselves where 25 children at the age between 12 to 16 years old boys and girls live at the Sittwe and Kyauk Taw bordering house. Some have single parent but could not afford, and some do not have parents at all to look after them. The children attend the local government school for their education. The church provides food and lodging as well as to support these children with the basic educational needs.
About Mary. K. Yap Foundation:
A non-profit organization under the section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, registered in State of Delaware, U.S.A with (EIN47-2687230). One of the ultimate aims of the foundation is to provide orphans of all ages in Myanmar with shelter, food, healthcare and basic education. The generous contributions and donations extended by friends and family members of Mary K. Yap Foundation are made available to better the lives of children