Catholics, Buddhists help Cyclone Nargis survivors

Catholics, Buddhists help Cyclone Nargis survivors

2010-02-03 11:59:45
YANGON (UCAN) -- A Catholic priest and Buddhist monk are praising joint interreligious efforts to help villagers in a remote Myanmar village recover from Cyclone Nargis. Father Benedict Htay Lwin from Yangon archdiocese, together with Venerable Wai Pon La, say interfaith cooperation has been vital in helping Buddhist villagers in Naung-lein-gone rebuild their lives in the wake of the cyclone that tore across the Irrawaddy delta in 2008. Cooperation has already seen the building of a road which has improved transport links to and from the remote village. They previously had to rely on boats which could only be used at high tide. The road also provides an avenue of escape in the event of future disasters. “The livelihood of the people is improving day by day and we can say it’s from our collaboration, the Buddhist and Christians, villagers and the Catholic priests, nuns and volunteers of the Karuna,” Venerable Wai Pon La, in charge of Naung-lein-gone monastery, told UCA News recently. Father Benedict Htay Lwin who is director of Social Communications for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar, together with Karuna Yangon are spearheading work for the rehabilitation of cyclone survivors in Naung-lein-gone. Karuna Yangon is the social arm of the local church in Myanmar. “We not only have mutual understanding and good relations, through our cooperation, Buddhists can see how we work, understand our intentions and witness the lives of Christians amongst the Buddhist community,” said Father Htay Lwin. “The charity of Christians is not meant only for Christians but to people of different religions, rich or poor. With the collaboration of a priest and monk, Buddhists do not see Catholicism as a foreign religion but more as a local and family religion,” said Wai Pon La. “We are really happy to work with, and have the cooperation of, people from different places. We would not be able overcome this disaster working alone without all the charitable activities,” the monk said. Further recovery and development is still needed the monk said. “The first priority is providing schools. If we can get more funding, we would also like to open a dispensary as health is very important for the villagers. Thirdly we would like to open a library so all the villagers can read more and gain more knowledge,” said the monk. MY08698.1587 February 3, 2010 35 EM-lines (381 words) ‘Nargis survivors still need our help’ Caritas plans US$2.6m Nargis program Cyclone victims get new homes
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