Myanmar has been one of SONNE’s focus countries since 2008
The people of Myanmar are currently going through extremely difficult times. After decades of military rule the country enjoyed a short period of democratization (2011 – 2021), which was ended by a military takeover in February 2021. Since then the situation has deteriorated dramatically.
According to a recent U.N. report, the people of Myanmar are facing a political, socioeconomic and humanitarian crisis. It is estimated that 14 out of 15 states and regions are within the critical threshold for acute malnutrition. Increasing prices, Covid-19 and associated restrictions and the ongoing insecurity and political instability are the drivers of this dire situation. Children and adolescents are at particular risk of exploitation and abuse.
SONNE projects in Myanmar
At present SONNE-International administers or supports several projects in and around Yangon. 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.
Educaction and reintegration for vulnerable children
We support altogether 500 school children, among them the destitute, homeless girls who have found shelter in two monastic schools near Yangon (by providing learning materials, toiletries etc.). Moreover, we run two day care centres and our SONNE Street Children Centre for altogether 150 of Yangon’s vulnerable children and adolescents where we feed them, provide them with medical care and prepare them for (re-)entry into a state school.
Vocational training programmes (e.g. computer skills) and job counselling for adolescents and young women complete our approach, whose utmost goal is to enable people to help themselves.
We care for Myanmar’s street children
In our two day care centres, which are located in the slums in and around Yangon, we look after 50 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.
Our SONNE Street Children Centre – a big step forward
Our very own SONNE Street Children Centre, which was inaugurated in 2019 and which had to face severe restrictions soon afterwards because of the Corona pandemic, has fully resumed operations again. Our social workers provide day care and education for 50 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!
Altogether more than 100 children benefit from these activities and we will not tire of filling the centre with life so as to reintegrate as many street children as possible into society!
Mobile health camps
All our beneficiaries (altogether approx. 1500 children, adolescents and their families) 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.