We reported a few weeks back on our research in Kachin State, Burma. The article highlighted the problems involved in getting aid to displaced communities along the China-Burma border, as conflict escalated between the Kachin people and the central government military.
John Littleton, our Asia Regional Manager has recently returned from this area where he spoke with representatives from the camps. He concluded that despite the fact the political situation in Kachin State is highly complex, that the humanitarian issue is simple. Sufficient aid is not getting through to those civillians who are caught up in the conflict and who need it most.
Since then we have received a list of essential supplies needed by the camps, acquired funding and found an aid route through. We will be providing warm clothes, strategic nutrition and toys for the displaced children in the camps.
Although play equipment may seem like a luxury item in these circumstances, it is essential for the emotional wellbeing of children caught up in conflict. Children in Kachin State have their identity entwined very closely with the war around them. They are constantly playing guns and bombs, not because of the influence of a television set, but from what they are actually seeing around them on a daily basis. Simple play equipment is essential for creating childhood games and imaginary realities that promote a healthy psychological wellbeing for a child living through conflict.
A second visit is planned later in the Spring to assess longer term needs.
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