To date, MedAcross has been operating in Myanmar in support of the humanitarian and healthcare project developed by the Sisters of our Lady of the Missions in the town of Kawthaung and in the surrounding rural areas that focuses speciﬁcally on providing:
assistance to kids and teenagers who are victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation by giving them jobs in a textile factory in order to increase their chances of ﬁnding work and being independent.
basic health services for IDPs and needy people, for whom the most common diseases are HIV, tuberculosis and malaria
educational services for street children in the city
mobile clinics set-up in rural villages that bring free medical care to over 300 people who have no access to any form of healthcare service.
In Kawthaung with the important support of Fondazione La Stampa - Specchio dei Tempi, MedAcross is financing the reconstruction of a Basic Health Clinic with an HIV Center to provide free health care and professional training to local medical staff.
MedAcross will also purchase a vehicle that will allow to significantly increase the number of villages currently reached through the mobile clinic programme, so that more than 1,000 people can be visited monthly by our medical staff.
MedAcross is currently involved in a medical and humanitarian project in Myanmar (former Burma).
In this region, health problems are particularly severe because of the strong presence of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) living in precarious conditions.
A rather poor area plagued by sexual exploitation of boys and girls who are brought to the lands of the border with Thailand with the promise of ﬁnding work and instead they often have to face a nightmare.
The MedAcross association came to know of this serious emergency thanks to reports from Oblate Thomas Haake, who has spent a lifetime working on humanitarian missions around the world and almost 20 years in Myanmar.
300 years of friendship
Relations between Italy and Myanmar have solid roots that are embedded in the country's history. From the the religious Barnabites who in the 18th century had worked in Myanmar, to those of the Congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary who left at the beginning of the 19th century from Piedmont (Italy).
Among the Italians who served in the country we ought to mention Father Paolo Matteo Abbona, who the Burmese scholar Vivian Ba called "the greatest and most Burmanised of the Oblates of Turin".
As a missionary, Father Abbona built schools, hospitals and churches. He also played an important role in delicate diplomatic missions (he spoke seven languages) between the British and the Burmese Court.
Appointed in 1856 as Plenipotentiary of the King of Sardinia, he earned the esteem of the British Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, and the collaboration of Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour. As an economist, he drafted the Treaty of Commerce and Friendship between the Kingdom of Italy and the Burmese Empire.
These stories show that the bond between Italy and Myanmar dates very far back, and in more recent times, there have been many opportunities for collaboration and exchange between the two countries.
In 2006, a Conference was organised in Turin to commemorate the adventure of Father Abbona in the Burmese land, to celebrate the bicentenary of his birth.
From 2007 to 2011, MP Piero Fassino served as the European Union's Special Envoy for Myanmar.
In 2013, Nobel prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi was granted honorary citizenship in the city of Turin and notary Andrea Ganelli was appointed Consul General of the Union of Myanmar, headquartered in Turin.
Followed by the visit of Thein Sein, President of Myanmar Union in 2014 and the appointment of Pier Giorgio Aliberti, born in Cuneo, as Italian Ambassador in Yangon.
The recent establishment of the Italy-Myanmar Business Council and the Italy-Myanmar Chamber of Commerce strengthen the cultural and economic ties between the two countries.