Ethnic minorities from Burma/Myanmar, many who are Christian, face a quandary. Whether displaced in Myanmar or in refugee camps in Thailand, they cannot stay, and they cannot go.
Over 250,000 have been forced out of their villages by Burma’s Army which, for decades, used the same kind of tactics they used on the Rohingya. Over 160,000 are displaced in Myanmar and 87,000 are in nine camps in Thailand.
The Thai Border Consortium, a group supporting refugees in the border camps, says one in six children of the displaced in Myanmar were acutely malnourished, a disturbing trend caused by lack of agricultural land, safe drinking water and sanitary latrines. In the camps, food and aid are gradually drawing down as international donors shift attention and funding elsewhere.
More than 100,000 refugees resettled to other countries – many to the U.S. The largest group of refugees in America – about 1 in 4 – are Christians from Myanmar. But that option is less available as countries struggle over immigration policies.
For those who return to Myanmar, the obstacles are daunting. They need citizenship cards and household registration documents to get a legal identity. Then there is the problem of livelihood – how to make a living in communities lacking infrastructure and security.
Most in the camps fear going to Burma. Yet life in the camp suffers from hopeless, with alarming rates of suicide – 3 times the global average.
Christian Freedom International is training a core group of students to be salt and light within their communities. Students come from refugee camps and within Myanmar. They learn where true hope comes from – Jesus Christ – and practical skills to make a livelihood in their communities.
Please pray for Myanmar’s Christians to experience God’s love and hope, for wisdom to find solutions, and virtue to be true ambassadors of Christ.