GEOGRAPHIC REGION

Asia

PARTNER

Our partners in Myanmar are the Anglican Church of the Province of Myanmar, the Mothers’ Union Myanmar, and Akhaya.

Refugee camps in Thailand received an influx of Burmese refugees in the 1980s. These were people fleeing the armed conflict and persecution by the military in Myanmar. 

More than 100,000 refugees live in the camps. Some have lived there for 30 years, and many have been born in the camps, knowing no other life. Almost 80 per cent of the refugees are of the Karen people group from Myanmar, and have had little opportunity for employment or education. The Thai government is taking steps to dismantle these camps and relocate the refugees, many back to Myanmar.  

Decades under military rule has made life difficult for Myanmar’s population, including for the refugees who fled into Thailand. The newly democratic country has ended more than fifty years of militaristic rule, and the ability and the impact of transformation in communities by contributing to the economic development through provision of micro-entrepreneurial skills to newly repatriated refugees is vital.

Capacity Building For Expansion Program

We are working with a UK-based NGO called Five Talents on a project to expand a successful community-based microsavings and credit program through the Church of the Province of Myanmar network.

The project includes a training program for current program staff, women’s representatives from Dioceses, as well as clergy and community representatives. The majority of participants are women.

The micro-savings and credit program targets predominantly rural communities who have minimal access to basic financial services or business skills training.

Included in the work is basic literacy and financial training, as many of the participants have had little access to education.

SHE Smith Vocational Training

The SHE Smith project is run by Akhaya, a women’s empowerment organisation in Yangon, Myanmar, to develop self-reliance and business skills in vulnerable women. The project aims specifically to work with women who have come out of situations of domestic violence, sexual abuse and human trafficking. 

The significance of teaching women to Silver Smith is particularly powerful in Myanmar, where women have historically been thought of as “not worthy enough” to touch gemstones or learn the craft. With the dual purpose of challenging these ideas, as well as creating sustainable livelihoods, the SHE Smith is training women in the art of smithing, producing fine silver jewellery. 

Anglican Overseas Aid is partnering with Akhaya to fund the training of the women, so that it can continue to grow and empower women into the future.

Funding: Both of these projects are funded by donations from the Australian public.