Our partner Meikswe Myanmar works with some of the hardest-to-reach communities in Myanmar: Northern Shan State, Rakkine, Karen and the Moken Islands. In addition they run three residential programs for women and children living with HIV/AIDS.
Meikswe Myanmar works primarily in ethnic minority communities, including some engaged in armed conflict with the Myanmar military. Their staff of 31 helps villagers assess their needs, then offers training, seed funds and ongoing mentoring. Not surprisingly, priorities include access to education, healthcare, and income generating opportunities. Last year Meikswe Myanmar mentored 73 local organizations, touching the lives of more than 20,000 people.
The obstacles facing these communities are formidable and varied: language barriers, lack of trained health care providers, the stigma of HIV/AIDS, and conflict all create isolation and vulnerability.
Meikswe Myanmar responds in a myriad of creative and compassionate ways. They start children in non-formal schools in monasteries and nunneries until they access government schools. Summer programs — including language training for children and teachers — are offered. Health staff are placed in schools and monasteries, and health workers ensure women have access to reproductive health care. Women and children living with HIV/AIDS find compassionate care, a home, and the medicine they need until they are well enough to return to their villages. Communities receive training and seed funding for such things as rice and buffalo banks as well as micro-savings. Also, people suffering in conflict zones receive emergency support.
Meikswe Myanmar is a force for good, working in some of the hardest to reach areas in Myanmar. Their model supports the development of confident, self-sufficient communities.