“We are having a hard time here. Thank you for helping us.” Rangers Bring Relief to IDPs in Shan State, but More Help is Needed

19 June 2023

Shan State, Burma

In May 2022, one year ago, waves of villagers fled their homes in the Pekon, Moebya, and Loikaw areas of northern Karenni and southern Shan states as fighting increased between the Burma Army, Pa-Oh National Organization, and People’s Defense Force (PDF). Today, still unable to return home due to the danger of becoming human collateral of war, these villagers are some of the millions of others across Burma struggling to survive as long-term internally displaced people (IDPs). In southern Shan State, many IDPs seek refuge in closed-down schools, temples, or churches, which serve as make-shift dwellings. IDP camp populations fluctuate as people move to find work or try to get into bordering countries; however, IDP camp leaders affirm that numbers in general are growing. The more vulnerable populations such as women, children, and the elderly, make up the majority of the people in these camps and are forced to find a way to survive without a source of income, education, healthcare, food and other basic necessities.

In April 2023, an FBR Shan team brought help, hope, and love to 674 households throughout nine different IDP camps in this region. The team met with each IDP camp committee, distributed funds, food and medicine, encouraged and prayed with the people, and put on Good Life Club programs for the children. The villagers thanked FBR for visiting and for not forgetting them.

After these camp visits, one Shan team member reflected on the situation in Shan State, saying that even though they have escaped the fighting, “The damage is still there. Many IDPs in Burma still suffer after they fled to a new place. Even some of them survive, some of them have trauma. The saddest thing for me is to obviously see the children have no future because the fighting in Burma causes them to not be able to go to school. Then, how can they have the education? This is important, when education is the foundation of life. All of the IDPs have a low life quality. The assistance from other organizations can help the IDPs only with immediate problems. They get help from others only at the beginning of the time they fled to a new place, after that they have to survive by themselves. There is a high possibility that there will be no more help to them again. Therefore, they have to live with fear and insecurity.”

“We are having a hard time here. Thank you for helping us.” This is Ma Nge, a Karenni IDP woman who fled to six different places until arriving at her current IDP camp because other IDP camps did not have enough food or water. She originally fled her home due to bombing and her home was later destroyed. She was pregnant when she first arrived to her current IDP camp, but sadly lost the baby. She is now nine months pregnant and will use the funds FBR gave her to go see a doctor for her baby.
A young girl stands at her home, where multiple families live inside a temple.
IDP living area inside a temple multi-purpose area.
IDP kitchen
IDP bathroom
Young girl smiling in her living area.
One of the nine IDP camps that received funds from the FBR team.
FBR team member giving funds to an IDP family head.
One of the food distributions.
Rangers sing and share at a GLC program.
Rangers and villagers laugh and play games with children during a GLC program.
Adults join in on the fun with the children during a GLC game.
A Junior Ranger exercise during a GLC program; encouraging older children to think critically and work together.
Young IDP boys laugh during a Junior Ranger exercise.
Rangers cheer with children after a GLC program.

As the war in Burma rages on without a clear end in sight, millions of displaced civilians remain in need of support. Please pray with us for the IDPs in Shan State, for both immediate and long-term help, and for the Burma Army to stop killing its own people, allowing these needs to be met in peace.

Thank you and God bless you,

Free Burma Rangers

Read more about Shan State missions below:

FBR Relief Team Responds to Ongoing Displacement in Shan State