Hope Prevails in War-Torn Villages

Male villagers enjoying their training lecture as they sit and listen.

The resuming war in Rakhine state has had huge effects on the lives of the people in the area, including our Transformational Community Development (TCD) villages. The Junta escalated airstrikes for a couple of days, causing severe fighting between the Junta and the ethnic armed force. As usual, the Junta blocked all roads, cut off channels of communication, and conducted severe military operations in Rakhine. However, the ethnic armed force is advancing the fighting and has already occupied more than six townships in Rakhine State, including Kyauk-taw and Pyun-na-gyun townships where our TCD villages are located.

We lost connections for two weeks with our Champion and the villagers. We didn’t get any updates and worried about what might happen to the community in the midst of war. We could not help except for praying for their safety and we prepared our minds to accept whatever news came up about the communities in the area. During this time of unknown situation, we contacted one of our friends in Sittwe, who still could use limited internet in her office. She said, “The fighting is severe in that part. We have a plan to provide some donations for the Internally Displaced People (IDPs), but there is no way we can access the village. We couldn’t contact anyone in the community.”

After three weeks, we got a phone call from our Champion. We were able to communicate for a few minutes with a very interrupted connection on the phone. We were so glad to hear that the community is safe and everyone is doing fine. The conditions of the community have changed. Now, it is under the control of the ethnic armed force, and several POWs are kept in the village school. The community and the nearby villages are asked to arrange food for them, which has become a burden for the community while they are struggling for their own family needs. The Champion said, “We are all safe. But we are struggling for daily living. Also, we worried that the Junta may conduct a counterattack on the village. Now, food is expensive, and a lot of families are having trouble in their daily lives. Due to travel restrictions and increasing security risks for the staff team, we are only able to report what is happening in the area. Our hope is that the door may open soon for more opportunities in the area.”

Thank you,

Written by: Solomon

GHNI National Field Leader

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