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.
Caritas Internationalis expresses alarm over the impact of the escalating violence in Myanmar on the already fragile humanitarian situation and asks to secure safe humanitarian access to deliver life-saving assistance.
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