FBR REPORT: Care and Laughter in the Shadow of the Burma Army.
A report on the graduation and first mission of five new Shan relief teams.
Southern Shan State
July 1, 2008

New Shan medic treating Lahu villagers. June 30, 2008.

Dear Friends,

This message is being sent directly from where we are on a relief mission in southern Shan State. On June 26, 2008 five new Shan relief teams completed their training in southern Shan State, northeastern Burma. The training, conducted by Karen, Karenni and Shan Free Burma Ranger trainers, covered subjects including medical care, land navigation, Global Positioning System (GPS), video and digital still cameras, leadership and the Good Life Club program for women and children, along with other subjects used by relief teams while in the field serving their people.

We are now with these teams on a relief mission to the Shan, Lahu, Palaung and other peoples who make up the population of this area of southern Shan State. The teams have been treating those who are sick, distributing clothing, and encouraging the people here.

In this part of Shan State, people continue to suffer from the oppression and misrule of Burma’s dictators. Forced labor and extortion are commonplace as the Burma Army and its proxies have almost complete control. Malnutrition and disease are the norm as the people have little access to medical facilities and no means to pay for what is available. Drug dependence and the associated problems are also frequently seen as the Burma Army has continued to use the production of narcotics to fuel its anti-insurgency campaign, and many villagers have found it difficult to survive growing anything else.

Despite this, the people here are cheerful and have not lost hope. They are friendly, happy to see us, and eager to share their stories. The new Shan teams have been outstanding; always kind, energetic in their work, and professional with their care. We thank all of you who continue to make this work possible, and we ask that you continue to stand with the people of Burma and the courageous young men and women who have committed their lives to serving those in need. We also want to thank Partners Relief and Development for their support of the Good Life Club (GLC) program to the Shan people.

Thank you and God bless you,

The Free Burma Rangers

Newly graduated Shan relief teams. June 26, 2008.
New Shan medic treating an abscess. June 30, 2008.
Karenni relief team member and trainer, providing dental treatment. June 30, 2008.
Lahu children playing during GLC program. June 30, 2008.
Lahu children during GLC program. June 30, 2008.