Myanmar has been one of SONNE’s focus countries since 2008

Background

The long-standing political and economic isolation of the country has led to the complete impoverishment of large sections of the population. The constantly rising costs of living in combination with scant possibilities of earning an income make life extremely difficult for a great number of people. Another major problem is the high degree of corruption.

After decades of stagnation, however, the country has entered a period of political, social and economic upheaval and development. A transition towards democracy has set in. These positive changes, though, have not yet reached the poor people of Myanmar and probably it will take a long time before our support work is no longer required.

SONNE projects in Myanmar

At present SONNE-International administers or supports projects in and around Yangon, in the Ayeyarwaddy Delta and in two remote, backward villages in the countryside. Like in all our project countries, we focus on education, skills training, medical care and the (re-)integration of marginalized children into society. Our principal beneficiaries are vulnerable children and adolescents and their families, ethnic minorities and other marginalised groups.

Education and care

Altogether, SONNE-International supports four primary schools (e.g. by paying for teachers’ salaries, teaching materials, renovation costs …) and a secondary school for more than 100 students. In Yangon we run three day care centres for vulnerable children and adolescents and a reintegration programme for children who are detained in a state-run reformatory. The children’s families (if they have any) receive assistance from our social workers. In individual cases they also get a micro-credit.

Mobile health camps

All our beneficiaries (approx. 1000 children and adolescents) have access to our mobile health camps. There they are checked regularly and receive medical care if necessary. In case of severe health problems, our SONNE emergency fund provides the money for medical emergencies, long-term treatment, operations and hospital stays. Moreover, these youngsters have the possibility to take part in our sports programme (football, badminton, table tennis, athletics, gymnastics, regional sports), an approach that has produced excellent results with regard to reintegrating marginalised children and adolescents.

With this integrated approach we aim at improving these youngsters’ living conditions in the long term and at giving them a fair chance of finding a job and leading self-determined lives.

We care for Myanmar’s street children

In our three day care centres, which are located in the slums in and around Yangon, we look after approximately 150 vulnerable children and youth: there they can take a break from their hard life in the streets of the city, they get two meals a day and have access to medical care if they need it. Our social workers see to it that they are clean and properly dressed. Those who go to school already receive extra tuition if necessary, while the street children and the younger ones get informal education. Moreover, our social workers do everything in their power to ensure (re-)integration into a regular school.

Still a dream – the SONNE Street Children Centre

At the moment we are busily campaigning to raise money for our projected Street Kids Centre, which will provide day care and education for out-of-school children, income-generating training for vulnerable adolescents, health and hygiene care, tuition classes, a sports programme and a playground – all under one roof!

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