Myanmar - Kawthaung - Education & Health Clinic
Myanmar is one of the poorest nations in Asia, ranked 149th among 186 nations in the 2013 Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Program. In 2014, The Asian Development Bank reported that 25.6% of the population live below the national poverty line of approximately $US2 per day.
Because of ignorance and severe poverty, the human rights of women and children are overlooked.
It has one of the highest levels of children under 5 suffering from chronic malnutrition (childhood stunting). Children who are stunted face irreparable damage to their physical and mental development, with serious consequences in cognitive, social and economic outcomes.
Rural women are among Myanmar's most marginalized groups, with high vulnerability to food insecurity and poverty.
Kawthaung is a town on the Thai/Myanmar border and it is unfortunately a place for the trafficking of women and children. Many girls and boys and their families are ‘smart talked’ by traffickers who promise great opportunities of making money in Thailand - in fact it is prostitution that is being talked about but not mentioned as such.
The Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions have developed a project in Kawthaung with the aims of CHILD PROTECTION and to improve the life of vulnerable, marginalized and disadvantaged women and children. To achieve these objectives its strategy is twofold:
Education and skills training,
HealthCare Clinics for general Community and HIV/AIDS.
Education and Skill Training Programs
Skills Training for girls and women - sewing classes are conducted in the morning - in the afternoon this opportunity is extended by opening the workroom where the young women who have achieved the basic certificate in sewing are paid a salary to work on garments, bags, etc. The fruits of their labour are sold at the local markets as well as in Thailand. Orders have been obtained to make uniforms for one of the local schools and a number of kindergartens throughout Myanmar. The income from these sales provides the materials and the salaries of the garment makers and it is expected that this program will move towards self sufficiency. The women who are unable to promote their own sale of garments, will be assured of an income as well as extending their own skills. These achievements give the women confidence and self esteem and it enables them to send their children to school and be educated. This is one way of deterring parents from sending their children to Thailand for ‘other work’. (sex trade)
In 2016 there were 15 young women learning sewing, 10 work in the sewing workroom in afternoons.
The after school tuition for children from the local school is offered and is proving successful. As most of the parents are illiterate, they are unable to help the children with their homework. In 2016, 45 children attended these classes. On Saturdays, a free meal is prepared for these children which they consider to be the best meal of the week.
When funding becomes available to purchase computers, it is intended to offer classes in their use.
The HIV/AIDS clinic is opened daily and is operated by two trained nursing sisters. Home based nursing care is also conducted for people with HIV/AIDS. The patients receive nursing care, medication, nutrition and counselling. Some families have both parents with HIV/AIDS and their children also have HIV. Early individual intervention programs are developed for the children thus giving them a greater chance of survival. These programs include regular medical check-ups and a nutrition program which is particularly important given the prevailing acute poverty. Families are very poor and have little or no money for medicines The clinic offers the medication they need.
In 2016 there were 30 HIV/AIDS patients.
The General Health Clinic has 300 patients
What is Lenity Australia’s Involvement?
Lenity Australia provides substantial funding towards the skills training, tuition program and nutrition elements of this project. Its current commitment is for 3 years.