I will soon be heading to Myanmar – some call it Burma – the second-largest country in Southeast Asia, where women of the ethnic minority tribe Kayan Lahwi are well known for wearing brass coil neck rings, appearing to lengthen their necks.
However, I am not going for vacation. Together with my co-workers from IKEA Hong Kong, we are going on an IWitness trip with Save the Children to Myanmar to witness how the IKEA Foundation is providing a better everyday life for children.
Myanmar’s population of over 50 million makes it the 40th largest country in the world. Despite Myanmar’s natural wealth in jade and gems, oil, natural gas and other mineral resources, it has a low level of human development – ranking 150 out of 187 countries – according to the Human Development Index as of 2013.
Children in Myanmar face significant child rights violations with exploitation, such as discrimination, forced migration, trafficking, and underage recruitment into armed forces, issues that are experienced especially by minority children and youth. Children’s access to quality education, adequate healthcare and economic security is increasingly threatened.
In the next few days, we will follow Save the Children Myanmar’s team to meet with different children’s groups and local child-protection groups from different project sites, plus the head office of Save the Children in Myanmar. I look forward to sharing this journey with as many co-workers and friends as I can. Stay tuned!