Imagine working in a remote place with no access to education and difficulty communicating in the local language. Catholic nuns are serving Lahu people in one such village of the parish of Tachileik in Kyaingtone diocese in eastern Myanmar.
“Transportation is challenging. It took one hour by motorbike to reach a tarred road. There is no school. Children have no right to education. Over ninety-five percent of the population is uneducated and cannot communicate in Burmese, a common language in Myanmar,” says Sister Maria Droste, a member of the congregation of sisters of Good Shepherd.
The Good Shepherd nuns create awareness programs related to healthcare and offer educational support for the poor in remote areas.
“As a mission, Good Shepherd Sisters approach the poor and facilitated educational support, social responsibility, and other awareness programs with the help of the local donors,” Sister Maria Droste told RVA News.
The parish priest goes once a year for a pastoral visit to the Lahu people in the village. The priests in such mission areas cater to many such villages as part of their pastoral activities.
According to Sister Droste, Lahu people mainly live in the village belonging to the parish of Tachilate in the Shan State of Myanmar.
The nuns are engaged in parenting lessons, community empowerment, discussion with local leaders, men, women, religious leaders, and youth for community development, women empowerment, child safeguarding, Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC), and health care.
As part of the ministry, the nuns are training people in Early Childhood Care (ECC), Child safeguarding, Gender-based violence (GBV), and One Body, One Spirit (OBOS).
Sister Droste shared a unique experience with RVA News. “A grandmother scratched and rubbed between her abdomen and thighs, causing a sore and bad smell that was almost like a swell.:
The nun confessed that the grandmother was shy and dared not tell anyone.
When the sisters arrived at the old lady’s house, she told them about it in the Lahu language, asking for their help.
The nun realized that the sore needed urgent medical attention before it became critical.
The nuns had to send for medical assistance that night and got an ointment to apply to the old lady’s sore. Once the sick woman was attended with proper medication, she started to show signs of recovery and was healed of the wound complete within a day.
The following day, a donor offered medicines to the remote village.
Four Good Shepherd Sisters are currently working in the mission field belonging to Tachileik parish.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.