Myanmar is one of the poorest nations in the world, suffering from decades of stagnation, mismanagement and isolation.
In 2011, with elections to a civilian government, there has been movement to engage with foreign governments, liberalize the economy and release political prisoners.
While these actions are encouraging, Myanmar continues to lag behind all of its South East Asian counterparts and is ranked among the poorest countries in the world (UN Human Development Reports).
Sanctions and the political isolation of Myanmar has resulted in very little international aid and development for the country: “Myanmar receives about $3 per person per year in international support, which puts it among the lowest three countries in the world,” [Andrew Kirkwood, Save the Children, Myanmar].
Abject poverty is a fact of life for millions across the country.
“There is a complete lack of access to basic social services whether health facilities or water sanitation. We’re talking about rural communities in areas that are extremely remote. Roads are extremely poor and travel conditions are extremely hazardous. The life that people lead in some of these communities is just extraordinary.” - Chris Kaye of the World Food Programme
The average household spends 70% of its income on food.
The government annually spends $1.10 per citizen on education and 40¢ on healthcare, compared to $400 on each soldier. [data from Government of Myanmar]
- 33% of children are malnourished
-132,000 children under five die every year because of avoidable diseases
- 50% pf children drop out of school after 5 years. [U.S. Department of State]
This all calls for our involvement.
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