Nine Shan FBR Teams Complete Leadership and Ethnic Unity Training and go on Relief Missions in Shan State

25 May 2013
Shan State, Burma

This month nine new Shan FBR relief teams complete their 8th annual Shan leadership and ethnic unity training. Lead by Shan, Karen and Karenni FBR staff,  the new teams learned medical, reporting, lifesaving, swimming, counseling, photography, video, mapping, land navigation, GPS, Good Life Club outreach to children, leadership, rappelling and many other skills to prepare for relief missions in Shan State.

Rangers complete a mapping exercise in the mountains of Shan State

The 47 new Rangers on the 9 teams come from a variety of backgrounds, motivated to serve their people. Many students have seen villages in Shan State burned or pillaged by Burma Army soldiers in the past, sometimes due to an accused association with the Shan State Army (a local Shan democracy resistance organization). Their training with Free Burma Rangers will provide these students with refined skills to be able to document human rights abuses that take place in mission areas, and provide a resurgence of hope to the people of Burma.

Senior Ranger staff supervise during a medical exercise

Due to the enduring conflict in Burma, the educational opportunities in Shan State have been minimal for students. Some villages have no schools at all, while others are able to receive basic education at monasteries. Villages that have schools are deficient in educational materials. FBR trainings provide a unique opportunity for students to receive education in a variety of fields, and in turn, share some of their education with the villagers that they come across during their missions.

New Shan Rangers participate in a Good Life Club program where they educated local residents on basic healthcare and provided encouragement.

Instructors stretch the limits of the students; a full day includes two physical training sessions, camp cleanup and 7 hours of instruction, 6 days a week. Classes are held in a jungle classroom, and practical exercises take place in the mountains and rivers near the training camp. Simulation exercises help to prepare Rangers for the different situations they may encounter during their relief missions. Instructors provide feedback on students’ performances to improve team unity and efficiency.

Rangers learn how to navigate terrain in multiple ways, including repelling down mountain sides.

It takes everyone working together to pull off a successful training. None of this could be possible without the united effort of the staff, students and the backing from both local and international support for FBR.  Despite different backgrounds, all Rangers are united by the belief that all people deserve freedom, justice and equality, and we seek to bring the light of hope throughout Burma as our new teams prepare to serve their people.

Rangers must complete several water exercises during their training, including swimming, water rescue, and rope bridge crossings.

Last year, FBR’s Shan Rangers went on a four-month relief mission where they provided medical assistance, Good Life Club counseling and encouragement, and documented the situation in each village they visited. Their mission began in late June 2012, and lasted through most of October 2012. During the course of the four-month mission, they were able to treat nearly 3,000 patients as they traveled through the mountainous terrain of Shan State.

Last year, Shan rangers were able to treat nearly 3,000 patients, including this young boy with malaria, during their relief mission.

The new teams are now starting on a four-month relief mission in Shan State.

47 Shan Rangers graduated from FBR’s 2013 Leadership and Relief Team Training

The Shan Free Burma Rangers are carrying on that legacy of hard work and dedication to their people with their 2013 Ranger training. Though positive changes are taking place in Burma, there are still many areas of great need in the country. We pray for the leaders of both the ethnic states and the central government of Burma as our Rangers strive to unite and serve the people here.

Members of the 2013 graduating class, shortly before heading out for their first relief mission.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers for Free Burma Rangers’ mission in Shan State, and all throughout Burma.


May God bless you,

Shan Free Burma Rangers