Karuna Mission Social Solidarity (KMSS) was founded in 2001 and works to help people living in one of Asia’s poorest countries where over one third of the population lives in poverty. Inspired by the Catholic Social Teaching principle of “Option for the Poor”, KMSS is established and mandated by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar (CBCM) as its social arm to serve the poor and the needy.
The specific areas of the Church’s mission give attention to Integral Human Development (IHD), justice and peace, environmental protection, education, health and HIV/AIDS, livelihood, social protection, humanitarian assistance and emergency relief services.
Caritas Myanmar Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Emergency Response areas provide emergency relief following natural as well as man-made disasters, such as floods, landslides, earthquakes and cyclones, armed conflict as well as long-term recovery programmes that rebuild homes and schools, repair infrastructure, protect livelihoods and build the capacity of local organisations.
In 2008, Cyclone Nargis devastated the Ayeyarwady and Yangon Regions of Myanmar, destroying thousands of homes and businesses, leaving more than two million people homeless and causing $10 billion total damage. Caritas Myanmar working in partnership with other Caritas members intervened to provide short and long-term assistance to distribute food, rebuild and repair homes, construct wells to restore safe drinking water, provide grants for small business and livelihood opportunities for non-farm based livelihoods for the landless poor, and counselling and training for villagers to respond to the psycho-social needs of their communities.
Since 2011, KMSS is one of the active local humanitarian support providers to the IDP affected by the armed conflict broken out between the government’s army and the Kachin ethnic armed group.
Caritas Myanmar has a range of programmes that include agriculture projects such as vegetable gardens and fruit tree plantations, pre-school teacher training and management training for school-committee members, capacity building for young people to build skills in organising and managing community development projects and health education sessions to distribute mosquito nets, toilet bowls and safe drinking water.
Caritas Myanmar programmes address the pressing concern of the 240 000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Myanmar, the second largest population of sufferers in South East Asia. Its prevention and education programmes help people living with HIV to be integrated into the workplace.
KMSS National Office (KMSS-National Office) is located in Yangon and has 16 Caritas diocesan offices plus one national office. The staff of Caritas Myanmar is composed of 725 people.
Caritas Myanmar is affiliated with Caritas Asia and Caritas Internationalis and receives support from Caritas confederation partners as well as from UN agencies which support programmes that focus on disaster risk reduction, emergency assistance, education, health and HIV/AIDS, livelihood, social protection and justice and peace.
With monsoon rains and the onset of the cyclone season expected during the next few weeks, fears are intensifying for the safety of Rohingya people living in makeshift shelters in Bangladesh refugee camps.
Pope Francis met a group of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh on 1 December on his trip to Asia. The 16 refugees travelled to Dhaka from Cox’s Bazar, where they live in huge camps. Some 630,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar since August. “I knew that I would meet the Rohingya, I didn’t know where or ...
by Caroline Brennan, Catholic Relief Services with additional reporting by Harriet Paterson In a late addition to his plans, Pope Francis hopes to meet Rohingya refugees from Myanmar at an inter-religious encounter for peace in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 1 December. He has previously expressed his “full closeness” to the Rohingya people. The Dhaka meeting will ...
On his visit to Myanmar 27 to 30 November, Pope Francis called for peace based on “respect for the dignity and rights of each member of society, respect for each ethnic group and its identity, respect for the rule of law, and respect for a democratic order.” His visit comes amid an exodus of more ...
Pope Francis was the first pontiff to visit in 500 years of Christianity in Myanmar. He brought a message of peace so people may “build harmony and cooperation in serving the common good”. Conflict between the military and ethnic armed groups in Myanmar has left the country impoverished and the people open to exploitation, especially ...