Relief for Burmese refugees just a lap away

Former Northern Rivers resident Sandi Willis with children from one of the IDP camps in Burma. Local people can help the plight of Burmese refugees by joining the Run for Relief.

Naw Eh Ywa is just nine years old and recovering from bullet wounds to her stomach. She was shot while escaping soldiers from the Burma Army who were attacking her village. But not all her family were so lucky, with soldiers killing her father and her 80-year-old grandmother.

Naw Eh Ywas survival may be miraculous, but her quality of life is a tragedy. She is one of thousands of IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) who have fled the brutal attacks of the Burmese military over the past two months. They have witnessed and endured horrific atrocities before travelling on foot through dense jungle with no food or water, constantly in fear of encountering land mines or soldiers. They search for IDP camps where mobile relief teams provide food, water and shelter a lifeline that can only continue as long as donations keep coming in.

Sandi and Nathan Willis are former Alstonville residents who are now working for Partners Relief and Development in Thailand, which runs the IDPs. After visiting one of the camps in Burma, Sandi sent home a plea for locals to donate money and help refugees rebuild their shattered lives.

I have seen first hand how what we give can contribute to the survival of a family in the jungles of Burma, said Sandi.

The Australian branch of Partners Relief and Development is currently organising a Run for Relief fundraiser at Geoff Watt Oval in Alstonville on Saturday, June 10. Every $12 raised will feed a family of five refugees for a week a good incentive to run or walk a few laps.

Their only crime is they were born in the wrong country, said Run for Relief organiser, Brendan Gray, who has also witnessed the suffering in Burma. We may not be able to stop governments, but we can raise awareness of these atrocities and help the refugees.

To join the Run for Relief fundraiser phone Brendan on 6628 5154. For information on the charitable work of Partners Relief and Development visit www.partnersworld.org.au.


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