Give Hope to Mothers in Myanmar with Baby Kits

by Refugee Empowerment International
Give Hope to Mothers in Myanmar with Baby Kits
Give Hope to Mothers in Myanmar with Baby Kits
Give Hope to Mothers in Myanmar with Baby Kits
Give Hope to Mothers in Myanmar with Baby Kits
Give Hope to Mothers in Myanmar with Baby Kits
Give Hope to Mothers in Myanmar with Baby Kits
Give Hope to Mothers in Myanmar with Baby Kits
Give Hope to Mothers in Myanmar with Baby Kits
Give Hope to Mothers in Myanmar with Baby Kits
Give Hope to Mothers in Myanmar with Baby Kits
Mother coming together
Mother coming together

We have recently been able to send more funds to this program, integrating the distribution of Baby Kits in a larger program to provide humanitarian assistance to internally displaced people (IDPs) in Karen state Myanmar. By co-ordinating in this way, the distribution will be safer and will benefit from sharing costs for transportation.

Beneficiaries will be women and communities who have been displaced by army attacks, and those in the conflict-affected areas where daily life has become much more unsafe for women, babies, families and communities.

It is planned to distribute up to 800 kits in the next 12 months. The level of security and risk in each area might restrict access by community workers. Where access is difficult it may be possible to send cash to local leaders to purchase the kit items. The health training is an essential part of the program so the leaders are being trained in advance.

It is estimated that there are currently 350,000 people displaced in Karen state.

While distributing Baby Kits to women identified as a priority, the community workers will provide short awareness raising sessions on maternal and infant health topics. These will be delivered by local leaders and staff using well prepared health education materials. They will conduct discussions with small groups as well as with individuals.

The usual topics will be covered including:

  • Nutrition
  • Hygiene for mother, baby and family
  • Good health for women during Pregnancy, Delivery, and Maternity.

But this time there will be an extra subject covered: security and landmine awareness for mother and family, highlighting the increased risk of landmines and their indiscriminate use by soldiers wanting to confine villagers to certain areas.

As one community leader said: "If one or two mothers benefit from the training, the whole community benefits. As leaders, it is important that we learn too."

Your support ensures that so many people benefit. Thank you very much.

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Transporting hygiene kits
Transporting hygiene kits

Displacement in Karen state, Myanmar continues with 200,000 people displaced from their homes in the last three months. They are sheltering in 100 displacement areas around Karen state.

This makes it difficult for assistance to reach each area.

Volunteers and community workers are managing to move hygiene boxes across the border from Thailand to reach those displaced nearby. Only a few can reach the more distant displacement areas.

This is positive and it means that some new mothers are receiving support and health guidance.

While they are unable to visit the displaced communities, the health community workers are taking the opportunity for team building and preparing for return to full action. This training is strengthening their knowledge of maternal care and preparing materials to take to the new mothers.

As we see in this project, the best way to provide assistance to the displaced is through local community groups. They know the area and have good contacts in the villages.

We thank you for your continuing support to this project that will build stronger communities able to resist abuses such as we have seen recently.

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Distant communities
Distant communities

The displaced communities in Karen state Myanmar continue to show amazing resilience in the light of ongoing uncertainty.

Conditions in many parts of the state are very dangerous and they change quickly. Nonetheless local governance and civil society groups are still functioning.

There are systems in place and the communities, whether displaced or not, still keep going and manage as best they can.

Brave community workers have been able to reach displaced communities near the Thai-Myanmar border but the concern is for the more distant displaced (and newly displaced) communities.

The community workers have learnt that mothers who have received the health training are proudly sharing their knowledge with other new mothers and this knowledge ripples through in a limited way. Of course, delivering supplies is more challenging.

In many of the distant villages, local leaders have also benefited from previous health training and they are committed to sharing the information when they can.

It shows that empowering the communities is essential to achieving a level of sustainability even in these difficult conditions.
Thank you for joining us to give renewed support when the situation makes it possible.

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Transporting kits
Transporting kits

Community workers in the Women’s Health programme have been directing their attention to supporting those recently displaced as displacement continues in Karen state. In the last month thousands of people have been forced to flee the area around the new town of Law Law Kay in Myawaddy district of Karen state. It is estimated that by the end of December up to 10,000 people had been displaced.

Community workers have been able to distribute material assistance to 600 families. This includes tarpaulins for shelter, mats, blankets and hygiene packs with some medicines.

Covid is widespread in parts of Karen state but symptoms are generally mild with a few deaths reported. The situation in the refugee camps on the Thai border is a little better and all residents have been offered the vaccination for Covid. Up to 80% of adults are fully vaccinated in some camps.

The camps are still in lock-down so supplies are limited but basic programmes can continue.

The Thai authorities are taking great care and providing vaccination to anyone, regardless of whether they have ID documents. They have also provided vaccinations to some Myanmar residents in Karen state but access is challenging and there is widespread mistrust of the vaccination due to the provision of low quality drugs and vaccinations in Myanmar generally.

We continue to hear reports of mothers sharing what they learnt through previous health trainings as they realise how much healthier their children are now they understand how to care for them better. This highlights the longer term impact of the funding.

We thank you for your continued support.

Concern for the young
Concern for the young
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Unfortunately, the unrest in Karen state, Myanmar continues. Troop reinforcements arriving in the area are causing thousands of villagers to flee to the forest and they dare not return. 

Community leaders and staff in all districts and camps are still working, doing community organizing, home visits andcare for most vulnerable. They engage with local partners to develop capacity and provide psychosocial support as best they can. Access is made more difficult because of the rainy season and the spread of COVID.

The rainy season is creating difficulties for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) hiding in forests and there are increased health problems due to recentoutbreaks of malaria and flu in IDP areas. Karen community workers are addressing their health needs but have limited resources.

Community workers have been able to provide some women’s hygiene kits to IDPs and to some villagers who have returned from displacement.
Women and girls are experiencing increased challenges in accessing adequate sexual and reproductive health services due to the collapse of the health system, movement restrictions, and displacement. 685,000 women are currently pregnant in the country, and around 250 preventable maternal deaths could occur over the next month if women could not access emergency obstetric care. Your support to this program is certainly providing valuable as women who have benefited from the Baby Kit and Maternal Health program are able to share their knowledge and experience with others. This shows that the 'ripple' effect makes an impact. The mothers provide important psycho-social support to their peers in these tough times.

Thank you very much.

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Organization Information

Refugee Empowerment International

Location: Minato-ku, Tokyo - Japan
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @REI_intl
Project Leader:
Jane Best
Minato-ku, Tokyo Japan
$12,083 raised of $20,000 goal
182 donations
$7,917 to go
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