In Rakhine State on Myanmar (Burma)’s western coast, Ngapali Beach is one of the country’s foremost tourist destinations. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the turmoil following the February 2021 coup have crippled Myanmar’s tourism industry. With visitor numbers plummeting, many of Ngapali’s businesses have closed, cut hours and laid off staff. Women, who are employed widely in the tourism industry, have been severely affected. Community Partners International (CPI) is helping local organization Precious Lady train women in artisan skills and develop new sources of income.
The Thandaunggyi Women’s Group helps survivors of gender-based violence in southeast Myanmar. In the shadow of the coup and widespread conflict that has swept the country, we talk to the women who sustain these essential services.
As a small business owner with a disability, Ko Moe has faced many challenges in keeping his business afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic and Myanmar's political and economic crises. But he's not giving up. With support from Community Partners International (CPI) and local partner the Myanmar Deaf Community Development Association (MDCDA), he is determined to return his business to profit.
“I had to rely on my husband since we married, so now I am happy to earn money. Now, we are saving for my son's future and it makes me feel so pleased.” Eindray
Eindray, 28, lives in Rakhine State, Myanmar, with her husband and five-year old son. She is one of 30 women enrolled in a livelihood project implemented by Community Partners International partner Precious Lady, that teaches sewing and handicraft skills, provides them with sewing machines and raw materials, offers basic sales and marketing training, and helps them to access markets where they can sell their products.
In Myanmar’s Naga Self-Administered Zone, crop yields for farmers practicing traditional slash-and burn agriculture have been falling due to climate change and deforestation. With support from a private donor, Community Partners International (CPI) launched a pilot project to help communities to adopt new and sustainable farming practices and improve their food security.
CPI Mask-Making Initiative Offers Income Lifeline to Myanmar Families in Need During COVID-19 Lockdown
The front room of Hla Hla Htwe’s home in Pyapon, Ayeyarwady Region, is a hive of activity. Family members are busy cutting fabric, sewing, washing, and ironing on a makeshift production line. They are making cloth face masks to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19. “On a good day, we can produce about 100 masks,” Hla Hla Htwe says. She and her family are part of a Community Partners International (CPI) initiative to help vulnerable families and communities who have lost work due to COVID-19 to generate income through mask making.
"I don’t know what I would do without this opportunity. I was afraid that no one would help me in these hard times."
In 2018, a group of women in Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar, were looking for ways to generate income to support their families and help members of their community displaced by conflict. After the breakdown of a ceasefire in 2011, Kachin State has been locked in conflict between the Myanmar Army and ethnic armed organizations. The conflict has killed thousands and more than 100,000 people currently shelter in displacement sites in Kachin and Northern Shan states. From different Kachin ethnicities, the women met through a local Baptist church and decided to pool their resources under the name “Good Mom”.
Down a dusty side street on the outskirts of Myitkyina in Kachin State, the "clack-clack" of wooden looms can be heard in the distance. Drawing closer, in a compound fenced with bamboo, a modest house with walls of woven bamboo slats and a zinc roof sits on concrete stilts. It is home to Ja Dwal Weaving.