The Free Burma Rangers (FBR) are a humanitarian group who work throughout Burma (also known as Myanmar) but concentrate primarily on the heavily forested border region, delivering emergency medical assistance to sick and injured internally displaced people, or IDP’s; a consequence of the long running campaign of violence by the military junta, the State Peace and Development Council, against Burma’s ethnic minorities.
Starting at the end of May 2013, nine teams set out on a three-month mission through the mountainous regions in Southern Shan State. This mission was conducted during the rainy season, a time when it is particularly difficult to transport supplies to many villages due to floods and washed out roads. Despite such obstacles, the rangers treated 1296 people in 16 different villages.
In the villages that rangers visited, they treated many patients, performed Good Life Club (GLC) programs (a children’s educational program), interviewed local residents to learn about issues in the area, and provided encouragement for the people they visited.
In addition to regular mission duties, rangers assisted with agricultural projects, such as tending to rice paddies, and a variety of construction and sanitation projects, including the repair and maintenance of schools which had fallen into disrepair. Overall, the general state of both education and healthcare facilities is poor. One out of every three villages had no educational opportunities and those with schools did not teach above the primary level. The villages of Pork Jong, Nam Dee, Ho Thart, Bang Bao, and Wan Mon all lack schools.
Access to food and water continues to be an issue in some villages. Both Pork Jong and Nam Dee Villages report food scarcity, with foraging in the area necessary for survival. Water scarcity also exists in Pork Jong and Won Mon.
As of the 3 April 2014, Shan rangers have confirmed a report that a clinic has just opened in Na Hla Village.
Of the 16 villages visited by the rangers, only Na Hla now has a clinic. In Nam Dee, lack of medical care has contributed to a very high infant mortality rate. Villagers currently rely upon traditional medicine created from resources found in the jungle.
- See more at: FBR website