The Buddhist Ye Lai Monastery for HIV Patients in Yangon
In 2009, PIN built two residences for HIV/AIDS patients at the Buddhist Ye Lai Monastery in Yangon. The residences house on average 60–70 patients and their escorts. They come to seek medical treatment and medication that is only available at a few government hospitals and international NGOs in the major cities. Waiting lists are long.
Many patients from the villages and smaller towns are penniless and destitute. While they wait in Yangon for medication and the results of medical tests and medicines, the monastery offers food and shelter. Some patients stay only a few days to collect their monthly ration of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, while others have to stay for months to complete tests and await their turn to receive the life-saving medication.
The number of HIV cases is on the rise and ARV drugs are in limited supply, so monasteries like Ye Lay offer an essential and vital service to the people who are jobless, impoverished and sick. Unable to afford accommodations anywhere else, at Ye Lay they find sustenance and a haven that is safe and dry while waiting for treatment unavailable in their home towns.
Each morning the monks of the monastery collect alms in the neighborhood according to Buddhist tradition, but the collection is rarely enough to feed all the monks and patients. PIN donates food to the monastery on a regular basis.
To expand the community’s limited food resources, PIN has created a garden from barren swampland in the monastery compound. The new garden provides meaningful work for the patients, which contributes to their mental and emotional well-being while supplementing the daily menu.
After continuously used over five year the two residences for HIV patients needed a thorough renovation (Projects), which PIN completed in April 2014.