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Myanmar

Basic Indicators

Source: UNICEF: The State of the World's Children Report

Population: 50,020,000 (2009)
National language: Burmese
Per capita income: US$ 1,400/year (2009)
Life expectancy: 62 (2009)
% of population using
improved drinking water sources:
71% (2008)
% of population using
adequate sanitation facilities:
81% (2008)
Under 5 Mortality Rate: 71/1,000 live births (2009)

Sponsor a child today!Myanmar, formerly Burma, is the largest nation of mainland Southeast Asia. It lies on the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea coast with Bangladesh and India to the west, China to the north, and Laos and Thailand to the east.

Military governments have ruled Myanmar since 1962 and have been accused of corruption, drug trafficking, and human rights violations — including forcible relocation of civilians and use of forced labor. In 1990 the government held nationwide elections, the first in two decades, but the military refused to recognize the results.

Myanmar is a resource-rich country with a strong agricultural base, and is a leading producer of gems, jade, and teak. However, military rule prevents the economy from developing, and the Burmese people remain poor and are getting poorer. The majority of Myanmar's people are ethnic Burmans, yet other ethnic groups add up to some 30% of the population. The military regime has brutally suppressed ethnic groups wanting rights and autonomy, and many ethnic insurgencies operate against it.

Plan started working in Myanmar in 2008 to provide emergency relief to communities affected by Cyclone Nargis, which tore through the country’s southern coast killing 140,000 people. Together with local partners, our operations soon evolved to long-term recovery - from building and renovating schools to training teachers and households in trauma healing techniques. Plan’s work has so far directly benefited over 194,000 people.

Except in emergency situations, Plan does not provide direct assistance. Instead, we help communities develop, grow and, ultimately, support themselves.

Hear from the children

An essential part of Plan's work is empowering children to discuss the issues that matter to them and to take part in decisions that affect their lives. To help you learn about these issues, the children in Plan communities have put together a series of publications called "See Our World": Read what the children have to say about their lives.