Dear Reader,

There have been two major national elections in the past month of November. One was the US presidential election that captured the world’s attention, because apart from deciding the direction of the United States’ development and foreign affairs in the coming four years, the winner of this election will also play a vital role in global and regional peace. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic is still going strong in the United States, having infected around 10 million people, which accounts for about one-fifth of the total number of cases of the world. Therefore, many around the world are also eager to find out if the president-elect will be able to lead the country in overcoming this pandemic of the century.

Besides the United States, Myanmar also held its general elections on 8 November. This is a significant event, as these were the third general elections held after the country’s current constitution enacted in 2008, as well as the first held by a democratically-elected government. However, with over 60,000 infected cases recorded, the elections have also been severely affected by the pandemic. In addition, there is little sign that long-standing conflicts and tensions that come from the multi-ethnic society could be fully resolved in these elections. For us, the well-being of the Rohingya displaced by the conflict in Rakhine State three years ago continues to be a top priority. We are concerned about whether they will be able to return home and settle there in peace.

Amid the pandemic, we have continued our work in over 70 countries around the world, assisting families, as well as the often-neglected vulnerable groups and refugees, through providing hygiene items and tending to children’s psychosocial, nutritional and learning needs. Adversities can be very disheartening, and children are particularly prone. However, in this issue’s feature article, we have seen how in the midst of the pandemic children strive to learn through means such as television and radio broadcast, and the voluntary teachers persevere to pursue their dreams. This is perhaps something that even we adults should work on. As the Bible says in the Book of Philippians, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal…” In an unfamiliar place, the last thing that one would want is to lose one’s way. Likewise, in an unforeseeable pandemic, the last thing that we would want is to lose ourselves. Now, at the end of this eventful year, may we all find our way back and continue to press on toward the goal.

Many blessings to you and your loved ones.

Yours truly,
Irene Wong
Acting Chief Executive Officer

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