Myanmar was once the “rice bowl” of Asia, but six decades of civil war forced people from their homes and devastated communities — including education and health systems — leaving many people hungry, sick and vulnerable to exploitation.

Yet there is hope. Though the government spends only 3% of its GDP on health — a fraction of what it spends on military and defense — local organizations and local leaders have stepped up to fill the void under extremely challenging conditions. In remote villages, underserved central regions and refugee encampments, our local partners courageously and creatively rally to help their own people.

We have a tremendous opportunity to partner with these local organizations and local leaders to directly support their vital efforts. Myanmar is among the most troubled and neediest places on the planet, yet its government continues to restrict international humanitarian access to many regions, and relatively few international groups work there. Foreign aid Myanmar is only about US$4 per person compared with about $38 per person in Cambodia and $50 in Laos.

Challenging? Yes — but also moving and meaningful. Because there are so many unmet needs, we and our partners have the opportunity to make a significant impact — and improve life for people who are suffering.

We’re grateful to be able to support our local partners as they strive to rebuild civil society in once prosperous Myanmar. Together — and with your help — we are making a difference one patient, one health worker, one village health clinic at a time.