Church marks end of Nargis funding
Service of thanksgiving rounds off agencies' relief and rehabilitation efforts
Participants looking at a photo exhibition of the Catholic Church response to Nargis
Three years of Church-sponsored emergency relief and rehabilitation programs for survivors of Cyclone Nargis officially came to an end at a special celebration in Yangon.
“We have seen villagers display unity in the face of disaster and work together regardless of religion,” Archbishop Bo said during the celebrations on March 5 in the compound of the Archbishop’s house and in the hall of St. Mary’s Cathedral.
Nargis funding has ended but Yangon archdiocese, Pathein diocese, Karuna Myanmar, Karuna Yangon and Karuna Pathein will continue to work for victims, Archbishop Bo said.
During the celebration, a slide show presentation detailing relief efforts in response to the disaster was shown and thanks given to key contributors and benefactors.
Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar on May 2, 2008 causing the worst natural disaster in the country’s recorded history.
The celebration ended with a thanksgiving Mass led by Bishop John Hsane Hgyi of Pathein diocese.
Around 150 participants, including international funding partners such as Catholic Relief Services, MISERIOR (the German bishop’s conference aid agency) and Caritas Australia, as well as local Karuna members and community leaders from affected villages attended the celebration.
“The social work we started with tears, is now approaching a happy end,” said Father Henry Eiklein, director of Karuna Pathein Social Services.
When Karuna started its development programs, it instilled the need for collaboration, mutual understanding and togetherness, regardless of religion, for the sake of the development of their villages, he said.
Since then they have gained a wonderful community spirit, he added.
There is no more funding, but with the help of several international Caritas branches, who are really interesting in our social work, we will continue to offer technical support, Father Eiklein said.