Lay mission group ACTS (A Call To Share) recently carried out its maiden outreach to Myanmar with 33 participants visiting the homes of the Salesian Sisters in Anisakan, Pyin Oo Lwin and Chanthagon in central Myanmar.
The purpose of the Nov 22-29 trip was to serve the poor and needy as well as support the Salesian nuns in their missionary work.
The nuns at the Anisakan home care for 49 girls, providing them with training in sewing, knitting and embroidery. The Sisters also run a kindergarten for 150 children at the home.
The Pyin Oo Lwin home shelters 58 secondary school girls who receive educational assistance from the nuns.
At the Chanthagon home, 20 college-level girls receive help in subjects such as English, accounting and computer studies.
In all the homes, the nuns emphasise religious education and values formation to girls who come from poor families.
The mostly-Catholic participants from Singapore were involved in various initiatives during their mission. A social enterprise team taught the girls learning vocational skills how to sew table mats and handbags for sale in Singapore, as well as how to bake cakes and cookies.
An education team conducted English lessons and taught the girls skills to prepare them for the working world, such as resume writing, handling interviews and grooming.
The mission catechists conducted a one-day Catechesis of the Good Shepherd workshop for the Sisters as well as daily catechesis with the girls. There was also fun and play as the activity team engaged the girls and kindergarten children in games.
A medical team conducted health education and provided health screening for the kindergarten children and girls while also treating villagers.
Another group gave a fresh new coat of paint to several walls in the Anisakan home, and created a mural in the kindergarten at the Pyin Oo Lwin home.
The team also visited the homes of poor villagers and distributed food and other essentials.
Responding to an appeal by villagers in an isolated area without proper water supply, ACTS donated towards the construction of a well.
While the 2014 ACTS Myanmar mission is over, outreach efforts continue as ACTS is funding the construction of a kindergarten by the Salesian Sisters outside Yangon and is helping the Anisakan vocational school in a social enterprise project.
ACTS, which reaches out to the disadvantaged in nearby countries, started its Cambodia mission in 2006. It has since extended its service to countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam.
The ACTS website is http://www.acts-singapore.com/
By Gabriel Ong