Myanmar

The Longest Civil War in the World

Everything began when Burmese soldiers opened fire on Lu Lu Awng and her family. It happened at three in the morning, the twelve-year-old girl remembers well. She is sitting on her pink blanket with her hands folded on her lap. Colorful animals decorate the pajama pants she is wearing. There is a little pink chest in front of her bed in which she keeps her belongings. On a stool near the top of her bed there is a pile of schoolbooks, which she has carefully stacked there. It has been two years now that Lu Lu Awng hasn’t lived in her homeland, Kachin, which is currently shook with violence, but surrounded by rice fields and papaya plants in a dormitory at the rural border of Myanmars largest city, Yangon.

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How Plan International is Helping the Forgotten People in Myanmar

Many of the most vulnerable children in Myanmar live in refugee camps in Kachin and Rakhine State. Plan International supports them and their families by offering early child care, health care and crisis preparation. As part of this, Plan International trains volunteers to accompanying children up to the age of three and helps families plant enough food to secure a healthy lifestyle.

  • Twelve-year-old Lu Lu Awng was forced to leave her home in Kachin to the north of Myanmar. Her biggest wish is to be reunited with her parents as soon as possible.

  • During conflicts such as the one in Myanmar, children are exposed to particular dangers. Plan International is working to systematically strengthen child protection mechanisms.

    Photo: © Kaung Htet for Plan International

  • With funds from the European Union, Plan International is providing thousands of children in the Kachin region in the north of Myanmar with access to education and psychosocial care.

    Photo: © Kaung Htet for Plan International

  • Nearly 4,500 children are now being taught in classrooms equipped with new desks and chairs.

    Photo: © Kaung Htet for Plan International

  • Before the beginning of the project, children were also lacking access to sanitary facilities. To improve hygiene, 26 hand-washing stations have been set up.

    Photo: © Kaung Htet for Plan International

  • Teachers and volunteers offer students lessons on hygiene issues. This helps reduce frequent diarrheal diseases – one of the most prevalent development constraints for children in poor countries.

    Photo: © Kaung Htet for Plan International

  • In the region Kachin, which is affected by continuous conflicts, ten child-friendly rooms have been created to allow children to act upon their natural impulse to play. This fosters their cognitive development and boosts their confidence.

    Photo: © Kaung Htet for Plan International

  • In the “Girls Club”, girls can talk about gender-specific questions. Their brothers and parents are also sensitized to women’s role in society.

    Photo: © Kaung Htet for Plan International

Background of the Forgotten Humanitarian Crisis in Myanmar

After decades of fighting for democracy and nearly half a century of military dictatorship, what was previously known as Burma installed its first – at least in part – civilian government in April 2016. Ever since the putsch of 1962, the land so full of resources and previously well developed was increasingly run down by the military until it became one of the poorest countries on earth. A brutal junta oppressed its people, and destroyed the economic, educational and health care system. Despite the overwhelming victory of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in the first free elections in November 2015, the government’s ability to act remains restricted: The constitution cannot be altered without consent by the generals, and currently saves seats for the military in the majority of ministries. Since the NLD has no leverage over the army, its hands remain tied when it comes to the civil war that has been raging for decades in the multinational state. The military has been oppressing civil society demanding more autonomy rights since the end of British colonial rule. Circumstances are made worse by the persisting battles between the military and armed wings of ethnic minorities.

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