More than 75,000 of the people who were displaced from their homes continue to live in makeshift tents today with little access to land for growing food. Moreover, economic activities have been severely disrupted by this prolonged conflict. The cost of food and other staples has risen dramatically while opportunities for employment have all but disappeared.
The goal is to help these families gain access to food while improving their ability to earn a sustainable income.
World Renew is supporting work with 2,750 internally displaced and at-risk families in the communities of Sittwe and Maungdaw. The goal is to help these families gain access to food while improving their ability to earn a sustainable income.
World Renew’s local partner is currently distributing 2,610 fruit tree seedlings within the community. The trees will be grown in nurseries set up and staffed by community members and the harvested fruit will contribute to both family consumption and income generation through sales in the market. In addition, a pilot project with fast-growing firewood trees will be promoted to address the issue of deforestation.
As the need for food security is great in the region, World Renew is raising additional funds to further expand this intervention. The local partner will train men and women in a new type of gardening technique that uses large bags (often recycled food aid bags) as the receptacle for growing vegetables. This style of gardening is called “multi-story gardening” and can provide food for the whole family with about five bags.
“The multi-storey gardens are a cheap alternative to regular gardening, do not require a lot of water and can be easily moved and set up again, should the displaced families return to their homes,” said World Renew Senior Project Manager, Grace Wiebe. “Because this project can be done close to home and does not require significant physical labour, it will be accessible to more vulnerable families, including female-headed households, the elderly and persons living with a disability.”
To address the firewood shortages, World Renew’s partner plans to train 20 people to produce fuel-efficient stoves. These stoves burn wood 25% more efficiently, thereby reducing the number of trees that need to be cut down and preventing conflicts that have arisen due to the shortage of firewood. This also reduces the time required for fetching wood and cooking, allowing for more time to look after children, grow food or work at another job. World Renew will pay for the creation and distribution of approximately 2,000 stoves for vulnerable families and the producers will also be able to sell additional stoves on the market for the wider community, creating a more long-term income-generation opportunity.
“We don’t know how long these families will be living in internally displaced people (IDP) camps,” said Wiebe. “The program is designed to meet immediate needs, but we’re also providing valuable training and inputs that they can continue to use when they return home.”
Please pray for this project and that peace will return to the people of Myanmar.
Your financial support is greatly needed in this region. To learn more about World Renew's response and to donate online, click here.
You can also give by calling us, or mark your check “Myanmar/Burma 2013” and mail to World Renew.
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PHOTO: People displaced by the recent violence in Pauktaw pass the time at their shelters at Owntaw refugee camp for Muslims outside Sittwe. Photo credit: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun