For many young people in Burma (Myanmar) the alternative is unspeakable – drugs, human trafficking and destitution. But the summer camps bring hope to many.

Poverty is everywhere present in Burma, but especially among the Christian families of the ethnic minorities. Many people are forced by poverty to move constantly, in search of work, but this often leaves them in still deeper destitution. The Catholic archdiocese of Taunggyi is trying to put a stop to this vicious spiral of poverty by means of a formation programme for children and young people, during a summer camp.

‘Otherwise, they have no opportunity to really know and understand their religion and draw new hope from it’, says Father Tarcisio. He has 300 young people signed up for his summer camp, from nine separate parishes. ‘Many of them no longer see any point in their lives; the destitution stifles all the hope in them’, he adds. In fact the experience of these summer camps, with their mixture of prayer, discussions, teaching, personal warmth and mutual help, has already led to a number of conversions – a real source of hope for the Church in Burma.

However, last year the diocese had to abandon the idea of the summer camp, since it simply could not afford the cost. This year, with help from ACN, that will not have to happen again.

This article can be found in Mirror 0616.