ASIA/MYANMAR - - Alleviating malnutrition, child mortality and illiteracy: Good Shepherd sisters 40 years commitment

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Posted on: 04/26/18
Yangon – For more than 40 years the community of Good Shepherd Sisters have worked to eliminate malnutrition, infant mortality and difficulties connected with illiteracy in the village of Magyikwin, north of Yangon, in Myanmar. “This area was infamous for high consumption of alcohol and ensuing brawls. Today malnutrition, illiteracy and infant mortality are the main challenge ” Fides learned from Sr. Maria Goretti Lwin.
On their arrival the sisters built a small church and opened a school, providing also school meals and encouraging parents to bring children to school. Today some 160 pupils attend lessons in the morning followed by afternoon courses to integrate education provided in government schools. Sr Lwin tells Fides “the village has no electricity so we use solar energy and an old power generator. Better education opens the way to access to university and a dignified job” the sister says.
With a young training teacher the sisters work in a class of adolescents from Catholic, Baptist and Buddhist families. They are particular proud of the pupils’ musical abilities and plan a song contest for next Christmas in Yangon.
The Good Shepherd sisters have also stared several microcredit programmes, lending money to purchase animals breeding animals to sell at the local market. Moreover they started asking parents, each according to the family means, to make some contribution in money towards the children’s education to encourage a sort of self-funding and replace the idea receiving charity.
In another initiative the sisters give special attention to a group of young girls and one boy, coming from high risk families where children are particularly vulnerable to violence, abuse and human trafficking.
Under the watchful eye of the foundress of Good Shepherd congregation, Rose Virginie Pellettier, the sisters, pleased at their achievements in the village in these decades, continue the activity started almost two centuries ago: helping vulnerable woman and girls and also bringing dignity and hope to the entire community .


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