Myanmar, Asia

MYA05 - Bright Hope Myanmar Development Projects: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: June 20, 2017

Report from Myanmar Partnership Facilitator Following Visit


Recent Events


The loan programme has continued on with repayments coming in and new loans going out. I was particularly pleased to see some of the same people who were given loans some years ago who have repaid the original loan and are still in the programme and in a better place.

A new development for the programme has been the expansion of it to include some young people who have progressed through the Peace Children's Home (which now cares for over 100 children) and are moving into the work force and getting tertiary or vocational training.

After joining the programme and establishing a savings plan they are able to access a loan to pay for their education. They then make regular repayments as they gain employment. Training has been in a range of fields including nursing and courses in repair of vehicles, air-conditioning units and large machinery.

Most employment in Myanmar outside the villages requires some form of training post-high school and comes at a cost. As wages are low (especially for those just starting out) and rents high, these costs can be prohibitive.

place for youth to stayBecause many of the training schools are in Yangon and the costs and time involved in travel are comparatively high, Samuel has personally rented two levels of a small apartment in Yangon. This gives the young people who have graduated from high school the opportunity to continue their study or vocational training and have a place to stay for their first year of work.

There are 8 girls (previously up to 10) living on the second floor and 10 boys living on the third floor of the apartment which has enabled the young people living there to train for jobs that would have been otherwise unobtainable. It also allows access to jobs while living in a safe and semi-managed place for the first year of their working lives. The first year of work in Yangon is often poorly paid, with the first significant increase in wages coming after one to three years.

The house also functions as a transition for the students as they still have a similar group living and mutually supportive environment with regular contact with Samuel and Mercy but also a larger degree of independence.

The plan is that as salary’s increase to a sustainable level that the young people will be able to afford to find their own lodging and food. As the young people move out of the apartments their places will be taken by new graduates from the Peace Home.


Personal Stories

Miss A

nurse aidA has been living in Samuel’s care for the last 14 years. Her mother, who is from a minority ethnic group, went to India for work and married an Indian man. When A was 1-year old her father died and she and her mother returned to Myanmar.

Her mother remarried when she was 3 years old but her step-father did not like her so she was sent to live with her grandmother. After a year and a half she was sent (via the local pastor) to live at the Peace Children's Home to give her better opportunities than she would have living in the remote village with her grandmother.

After completing her high school education she moved to the apartment in Yangon where she completed her nurse aid training paid for with a loan from the programme.

Aside from a stay in hospital late last year with appendicitis (the 300 000 kyat cost was paid by Samuel – healthcare is ‘free’ but the doctor required a ‘gift’ and costs for medication) she has been enjoying working in a Yangon dental clinic. The hours are long and the pay is low but the work is good and the rates of pay increase after several years of service.

A is saving some of her income and has been making regular small repayments to the loan programme as her finances allow. She expects that these will increase along with her salary.

Mrs S

run restaurantI first met S two years ago when she was living in a small house with her two daughters and raising her nephew as well. Her husband works as a pastor in Bangkok ministering to the Burmese migrant worker community there and sends some money home and visits when he is able. S and the children were not able to access the education or health systems in Thailand so they returned to a village outside Yangon.

When we last saw her she was struggling to pay escalating rent and had taken a loan from the programme to farm pigs and was manufacturing and selling soap in the village.

Since then she has moved to another area nearby and rented bare land controlled by the Army. As there were no buildings on it the rent was much cheaper. She and the family have built a small house and area that they use as a restaurant. It is a basic affair with a canvas front that can be rolled down and a thatched roof over the kitchen area. The floor is swept dirt but the plastic stools and simple wooden tables are clean. When we arrived she was having a prayer meeting with a group of local women.

good foodHer widowed sister and her son moved in with the family and help at the restaurant.

From the original loan S raised and sold two pigs, and continues to make and sell soap to supplement the restaurant income. Access to the programme has made it possible for her to give her family opportunities for education and a life. The small restaurant she now enjoys would not have been possible without it.

Both of her daughters are able to attend the public school and she also has a baby son, a “Christmas gift” from her visiting husband.

While the Army can decide to take back the land whenever they choose S plans to stay in the same location and continue to provide for her family while she is able.


Partnership's Influence within the Community

The loan programme continues to function well and with a wide variety of participants and beneficiaries. Many of the people involved are directly benefiting their communities, such as Joseph and the clean water he provides to his village, or Samuel and the children he cares for.

Their attitude and service make a difference in their communities and serve as a fantastic example of the local church in action.

The decision of the committee to expand the programme to include recent graduates has allowed them to get the education needed to obtain employment in an increasingly difficult job market, and as these young people move into new areas they will carry their influence further. 


Prayer and Praise Points

1) Expansion of the programme
2) Successful repayments and good administration by a dedicated group of people
3) The healthy arrival of a baby girl into Samuel’s family
4) Continued protection of the people involved and success in their endeavours
5) A softening in the hearts of Buddhists in Myanmar, particularly those in power 



While using the programme to lend to students is not specifically what it was originally created for I am pleased to see that the committee has seen the need and decided to use its resources to help. The low rates of pay for new young workers and their consequent small repayments will slow the growth of the fund but the repayment levels seem to be high overall and it was particularly good to see the growth in the businesses and real change in the lives of those participating in the programme.