In 2008, a delegation from SOS Malta's Sri Lankan partner, Healing Hands, carried out an aid visit to Burma following the devastation caused by cyclone Nargis in May of the same year. The situation in Myanmar, where the cyclone killed at least 22,000 people, remains fragile with a lot of people still jobless and without a home, many orphans and shocking poverty.

Kumari Kulatunga, the director of Healing Hands, led a delegation to the country on behalf of SOS Malta, which sponsored the trip, between July 2 and 8. Clothes, food, cooking utensils, candles and washing powder were bought and a boat was boarded for the village of Sarmaleut, where the school was destroyed and the children were taking shelter in a monastery. In this village, there were 67 families made up of 346 people. The cyclone killed 136 of them and the village now has five orphans and 18 children with one parent.

Healing Hands also visited Thar Pyan Gyi where women till the fields after they lost their sewing machines. Before the cyclone, they had a lot of pigs but are now left with only two.

Healing Hands in turn visited another village with a population now numbering 279, including nine orphans. The cyclone killed 146 people from this village, including 43 children.

Yangon was still full of debris and broken pavements and buildings, when the team visited. The people however had started working hard in the fields and building new houses.

Although the children had no books and stationery, they were going to school and doing their best under the circumstances.

The Healing Hands team noted that the people were economically deprived, isolated, vulnerable and living in poverty.

For this reason, SOS Malta and Healing Hands have decided to continue helping the people of Myanmar by working on livelihood projects and rainwater harvesting in particular villages. SOS Malta shall also be setting up sewing circles, as well as pig, duck and hen breeding programmes.

SOS Malta is therefore calling on the Maltese for assistance.  One can donate at APS, account number 20000245111, HSBC, account number 006070932050; or BOV, account number 40013974950.  Donations can also be sent to SOS Malta, 9, Camilleri Court, Testaferrata Street, Ta' Xbiex