Category Archives: Community Development

Meikswe helps the sea gypsies of the Moken Islands — Burma-Myanmar work towards sustainability


The Moken Islands of Myanmar’s Mergui archipelago are fast becoming a tourism mecca. These 800 pristine islands are surrounded by clear seas, perfect for scuba diving, and are home to the ‘sea gypsies’. The Salone/Moken people live largely on the water — they can hold their breath underwater for several minutes with ease — yet for the Salone and other inhabitants of the islands, life is far from idyllic. Meikswe (pronounced “may sway”) Myanmar, a locally led group that Partners […]

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‘Water Pipe Monk’ gets power from community organizing


Back in 2009, the team at Partners Asia supported our local partner Meikswe Myanmar to help a monk near Lashio establish a water collection and distribution system for three villages near his newly established monastery. (Read about this original Integrated Rural Development project here.) Meikswe Myanmar has also helped train the teachers in the school for local children that the monk set up and give the children medical checks. This year the school has more than 100 children, and the […]

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Drugs Awareness and Prevention in Chin State


Chin State is known as one of the most economically deprived areas of Myanmar. Bordering India’s Manipur and Mizoram states, and also sharing a border with Bangladesh in the South, Chin state boasts some of Myanmar’s highest mountains — steep-sided ranges with many deep river valleys in between. While the intrepid birders led by Hal reached the highest peak, Mount Victoria at 10,500 feet, Partners Asia staff visited village communities in the north, where Kennedy Peak is ‘only’ 9,000 feet. […]

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Action for people with disabilities in Myanmar


As in many Asian countries, children with disabilities in Burma – Myanmar are a hidden secret. For most Buddhists, the birth of a disabled child is seen as a mark of bad karma for the parents, or for the child herself. As a result, people with disabilities in Myanmar are often hidden away, or put into government institutions where there is little skilled support for them or their families. Teachers are not trained to work with children with learning difficulties, […]

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Changes in Myanmar & Mon State community development


Armed conflict has been a part of life for peoples in Mon State since the late 1940s. Successful divide-and-rule strategies employed by the British colonial regime to control various groups of peoples in their Burma territories set the stage for decades of political and military conflict following independence. Groups organized and hardened along ethno-linguistic lines and many armed themselves to fight the Burman-dominated military that came to control the country. What followed were decades of deep distrust, suffering, and calcified opposition among […]

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Rakhine – Arakan Community Learning


Partners Asia works with community leaders who are expanding opportunities for learning and experience that enhance life chances, enabling their communities to take an active part in social, economic, and political decision-making. These local Myanmar leaders educate entire communities, using access to community and monastic schools not only as an opportunity to improve educational provision, but also as a means of reaching illiterate and economically vulnerable adults. As well as indigenous Rakhine people (who are predominantly Buddhist and speak a […]

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Organizing Shan State Communities


Partners Asia works with a locally led community group in northern Shan State that is working to improve the lives of the poorest children from the area, most of whom are from Palaung, Shan, Pa-O, and Chinese ethnic minorities. Many of these families have been displaced by fighting between the Burmese Army and the state’s armed ethnic-nationality groups, conflicts that have been ongoing for decades. Even now, with some ceasefires in place and others being negotiated, fighting still flares, and […]

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HIV – AIDS In Burma – Myanmar


Our team at Partners Asia works with local community leaders to overcome poverty, discrimination, and other barriers that prevent people living with HIV – AIDS from receiving the medical treatment and community support necessary to get back on their feet and become productive members of society. These projects are intensive and often individualized, with much complementary counseling and community building needed alongside directly working with HIV positive people, in order to encourage communities to accept people living with the disease. […]

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HIV – AIDS In Shan Communities


Early in 2000, anti-retroviral treatment (ART) became available through the Thai government hospitals for Thai nationals with low CD4 counts (an indication of the stage of the disease). Those without official documents residing in Thailand—either ethnic minorities not yet fully recognized as Thai citizens or mobile populations of Myanmar refugees, displaced persons and migrant workers—were unable to access life-saving ART or critical counseling services. Given the growing number of HIV-positive people among these marginalized populations, in 2005 Myanmar community leaders […]

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Pre-K for Shan Communities


When our team first visited the W Pre-school in 2003, the rainy season was in full force and three young Myanmar women volunteers were teaching 80 three-to-five year-olds in a wet, muddy and confined space. The ‘classroom’ stood on a raised bamboo platform barely above the mud, covered with a thatch roof and missing its walls. This community lies right on Thailand’s border with Myanmar’s Shan State. Most in the community went to Thailand to flee the fighting in Shan […]

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