Myo Zaw is CAFOD’s humanitarian capacity and development officer working in Myanmar and Cambodia.
Myo visited the diocese over the weekend and met with local volunteers, supporters and clergy, and spent some time with Bishop Ralph. His visit gave us all much food for thought and insight into the detail and impact of the work for some of the most disadvantaged people in our world today.
Myo explained that Myanmar ranks 19th in listings of poorest countries. It has a population of 52 million people many of whom are at high risk of natural and man-made disaster. People are exposed to cyclone, tropical storms, tsunamis, flooding, forest fires and drought, and more than 10% of the population are internally displaced refugees.
Because we can work within and through the Catholic Caritas network, we have a unique opportunity to be alongside some of the most vulnerable people which other agencies are not always able to reach. Myo is working in Myanmar with local Bishops in 3 Archdiocese and with 16 diocesan offices to provide training and technical expertise that improves the capacity of local communities, enabling them to become more resilient to cope when natural disasters and emergencies occur in the area.
Throughout the weekend Myo visited the Volunteer Centre in Sheffield and spoke at Sunday Masses at Our Lady of Sorrows, Bamford and St Michaels, Hathersage. Myo is pictured with local rep, Angela Powell, receiving a cheque for £500 from Fr Martin, for CAFODs Rohingya Crisis Appeal.
Myo was fascinated to learn how funds have been raised by supporters over the years. The ‘CAFOD Hope Valley’ group have raised more than £30k and representatives of the group shared stories of concerts, book sales, garden teas, and ‘copper’ collections. All great examples of how communities living in rural communities can come together and reach out to help others in need.
As well as strengthening local capacity, CAFOD provides emergency food, tents, water and sanitation for the Rohingya response which is focussed on people who have been forced to flee to Bangladesh since 25 August, to escape violence in Rakhine State in neighbouring Myanmar. As members of Caritas Catholic network, we are funding Caritas Bangladesh to provide emergency aid such as food, clean water and emergency shelter.
Finally, because many around the diocese of Hallam have been responding to Pope Francis calling for all to “Share the Journey” before he left, Myo met with supporters at the start of the Padley pilgrimage, at the sight of the Padley Martyrs. Some had walked from Nottingham diocese, over several days to be in solidarity for refugees and asylum seekers.
People are dying due to a lack of basic needs, and we believe that no-one should be beyond reach, therefore, we continue to raise funds in order to reach more vulnerable people and provide them with the help they desperately need. Please sign up to volunteer with CAFOD in Hallam and enable us to do more.