05/14/2015, 00.00
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Caritas Myanmar, on a mission for the human and social development of all ethnic groups

The charity’s president, Mgr Raymond Sumlut Gam, and director, Win Tun Kyi, spoke to AsiaNews about how the Catholic organisation operates. In the wake of the conflicts that tore at the country, its people need "humanitarian assistance and education".

Rome (AsiaNews) - The conflicts that torn Burma asunder for years are "man-made disasters that require Caritas Myanmar to work towards the development of society, with particular attention to humanitarian assistance, something that is badly needed,” said Mgr Raymond Sumlut Gam, bishop of Banmaw.

The prelate, who heads the Catholic charity, is currently in Rome for the General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis. Last Monday, Pope Francis led a Mass in St Peter for its opening session.

"As bishop, celebrating the Eucharist with the Holy Father was a very important moment,” said the bishop. “His presence gave me great strength."

Caritas Myanmar, said its director Win Tun Kyi, "is involved  in a great many regions of the country. Each of the 16 dioceses have a local Caritas office. I think it is the largest charitable organisation in Myanmar. We work primarily in prevention and recovery during and after natural disasters. Floods, typhoons and epidemics top our agenda."

In addition, "we are very involved in the field of child and adult education. We have to raise awareness as much as possible of the importance of education for the development of society and the country. Another field of action is the protection of children's rights, an area in which the Burmese have to work harder."

Although Myanmar is a predominantly Buddhist country, "Caritas can be a real bridge between religions and ethnicities,” he said.

“Our operations are not influenced by religion or ethnic identity. Our charitable programmes have earned us the trust of everyone. This is a real gift, for which we thank the Lord every day."

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