As a young democracy, Myanmar is facing rapid change. 70% of the population live in rural areas, and young people (who account for 28% of the population in Myanmar) are leaving rural areas to move to urban areas in search of employment.
Myanmar’s economy is primarily based on agriculture, and rural communities experience considerable hardship, including lack of modern resources, firewood shortages, religious conflicts, local economic declines, are also major reasons for moving to the urban areas.
In rural areas like Myeik, there is a general lack of knowledge about the planning, developing, implementing and management of small business initiatives that could potentially help people out of poverty.
The Diocese of Mawlmayine, Myanmar, operates St Albert middle school, an educational institute opened in 2014 to provide education for children from families disadvantaged by conflict since 1996.
How We’re Helping
St Albert’s middle school has requested an experienced teacher to strengthen coordination of the school’s education programs. In addition to providing administrative support, it is expected that the support of a TESOL teacher will impart to students valuable language skills. These language skills will make the students of St Alberts more competitive in the challenging job market and bring opportunities to the local community.
Palms Australia has recruited Queenslander Adriana Silva to work in Myeik for one to two years. Adriana is a qualified TESOL teacher with qualifications in small business management. This role will combine Adriana’s teaching and organisational talents to assist in the efficient coordination of the Diocese resources in providing a quality education.
Adriana will be working with Daniel Kennedy, a business mentor supporting the Diocese’s livelihood programs. Together, Adriana and Daniel will provide professional development for staff across the Diocese’s various activities, providing comprehensive and complementary strategies for sustainable project management.
Is the Project Sustainable?
This collaborative project between the different activities of the Diocese offers a locally driven, comprehensive strategy to escape the cycle of poverty. The scope of the project can combat the chain-link challenges of rural development: business owners do not have the skills to create a stable cash flow and therefore cannot support school leavers who face unemployment, meanwhile, school students aren’t learning the skills to run sustainable businesses.
This is a long-term project. We have two qualified and experienced Australians ready to undertake two years in Myeik to support this program. As the Diocese has requested their skills, there is considerable local support for their presence and their assistance. After these two years, local staff that Daniel and Adriana have trained will be able to continue the education and livelihood enhancement projects into the future, creating a steady and sustainable path to economic stability for the community of Myeik.