Once proud feudal rulers of vast lands in Burma, China and Thailand, the Shan (who call themselves Tai) are now a people with no land to call their own. The Shan are oppressed – politically, economically, physically, culturally, and spiritually – and their communities suffer from illiteracy, addiction, prostitution, AIDS, poverty, broken families, and a loss of hope. Still, they are a very proud race, deriving great joy from their heritage.
Their Buddhist faith, intricately combined with animism, is deeply rooted in the culture of the Shan. Life decisions that contradict the wishes of parents and society are rare. Although there is a published Bible in the majority dialect and a small established church, very few Shan have ever heard about Jesus. As one of the largest Unreached People Groups in South-east Asia, with a population between 5 and 7 million, they are in need of the Gospel of Christ.