Myanmar Update - Promise News
12th February 2021
Dear Promise Post Readers, Many have asked about the latest news from Myanmar - now nearly two weeks on from the military coup which ousted the elected civilian government. We need to be guarded in our comments - as foreigners - but we can comment about the schools, and how things are for our staff and students. We are surprised and a little disappointed to see so little reporting of the Myanmar situation in our local media. 1. Schools were already offering very limited 'live' classes due to the ongoing pandemic. This has ceased with the civil protest and turmoil on the streets. To control the spread of information, most social media have been shut down along with the internet as a whole. We are told that the internet will be shut down for at least the next two weeks. This will mean that even online classes have to be suspended. Our expatriate staffers still in the country are expecting they could be ordered to leave - difficult considering there are reportedly no commercial flights in or out, and the land borders have been closed also. There is an acute sense of uncertainty - even fear - and for all our national friends, huge disappointment that their hopes for a better future for their children have seemingly been dashed or, at best, postponed. All we can say of the bigger picture is that historically under military rule religious minorities have not fared well. This is currently also reported to be an issue in outlying areas. The Canadian/American couple acting in our place are doing a wonderful job amidst the most difficult of circumstances. We stay in regular close contact. Apart from praying for safety and for some semblance of normality to return, their key prayer request is for the international community to put pressure on the new administration to 'back down' and restore the elected civilian government. Protesting by banging pots and pans and three finger salutes are not going to achieve anything - but international pressure and action might. We have been in touch with our local Federal MP - who is a member of the government, a Cabinet Minister in the Morrison Government and a believer himself - to request our government to do whatever it can in this regard. 2. We are very grateful for the generous support of our 'Promise Relief Appeal' over the last three months. Our partners in Yangon organised another food distribution a week ago. But the needs are increasing rather than decreasing. Of particular concern to us is our national staff - particularly people such as cleaners, bus drivers, office and grounds staff. If the current enforced closure of schools (Including online offerings) continues as we fear, our families cannot be expected to pay school fees. Many have faced acute financial pressure over the months of pandemic and so fees income has been greatly reduced anyway. We feel very burdened about this - and responsible to a large extent to continue to care for these needy folk for as long as we can. There is no Jobkeeper or Jobseeker there - in fact no government-funded social security at all. So we do welcome continued support for our 'Promise Relief Appeal' as we need to extend relief beyond our local village neighbourhoods. While most of Myanmar's banks are currently closed due to insecure internet and internet shutdowns, we still have means to transfer and distribute relief. Please do continue in prayer for Myanmar and its people - and specifically for the Promise School communities (staff, students, their families and village neighbours). Our God is greater.
Sincerely - and in His love D & S