Myanmar is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia. The Bay of Bengal lies to the southwest, touching nearly 1,200 miles of Myanma's coast.

  • Population: 47,963,000
  • Life Expectancy: 65 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 71%
  • School Enrollment: 84%
  • Land Mass: 261,228 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 92%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 66/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 220

Facts about Myanmar

Economic Development

Myanmar is one of the poorest nations in the world. Decades of military rule have devastated the country's infrastructure. Underemployment and economic stagnation have become the norm. More than 30 percent of people live below the poverty line.

Food & Agriculture

Droughts, floods, pest infestations, and limited agricultural supplies have contributed to most of the country's desperate need for food.


The HIV and AIDS epidemic is growing in Myanmar. The country has one of the highest infection rates in Southeast Asia--more than 240,000 people are living with HIV and AIDS.

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Progress in Myanmar

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2012.

  • Trained farmers in improved agricultural techniques to increase yields and generate income for families.

  • Constructed latrines in schools, creating healthier environments for schoolchildren.

  • Dug wells to increase access to clean water and reduce the prevalence of waterborne illness.

  • Strengthened early childhood development programs by establishing learning centers, training teachers, and supplying teaching aids.

  • Helped children with disabilities attend school by assisting with expenses and transportation.

  • Distributed books to schools and community libraries to improve children's access to resource materials.

  • Assisted students with school enrollment fees.

  • Formed community-based disaster management groups and readied them to respond to emergencies such as floods.

  • Trained entrepreneurs in business management and connected them with microfinance institutions that provide small business loans.

  • Provided vocational training for community members.

  • Organized anti-trafficking workshops and continued to raise community members' awareness of child rights.

  • Children celebrated with games and received gifts such as hats.

  • Provided nutritious food for children under age 5 and taught their caregivers about nutrition and meal planning.

  • Worked with local partners to provide medical checkups and dental care for children, and helped children access further medical treatment as needed.

  • Fought dengue fever, a deadly mosquito-borne illness, by supporting mosquito-control campaigns and distributing oral rehydration solution.

  • Provided food and housing assistance for people living with HIV and tuberculosis.

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    World Vision in Myanmar Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Myanmar to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision's child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 9,000 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Myanmar. Highlights include:

    • Providing school supplies, fees, uniforms, and other clothing and supplies for vulnerable children.
    • Raising awareness about human trafficking and reducing the number of exploited children.
    • Continuing to help people affected by Cyclone Nargis, distributing food, blankets, clothing, and mosquito nets, as well as supplying clean water and medicine.

    World Vision History in Myanmar

    World Vision began work in Myanmar in the 1950s with the support of a pastors conference. Since then, some major accomplishments include:

    • Meeting the needs of children through sponsorship since the early 1960s. • Helping families affected by floods regain livelihoods with resources such as carts, rickshaws, and sewing machines in the 1970s.
    • Partnering with the Salvation Army to help children in the 1980s.
    • Providing healthcare, education, and skills training to hearing-impaired children and adults in the 1990s.
    • Improving the lives of children living on the street, assisting with tsunami relief efforts and increasing microenterprise development since the beginning of the 21st century.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    Myanmar is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia. The Bay of Bengal lies to the southwest, touching nearly 1,200 miles of Myanmar’s coast.

    The climate is cooler in the mountainous north and east areas, tropical in the south and west, and hot and humid along the coast and delta.

    Natural resources include petroleum, timber, tin, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas, and hydropower.

    Over 130 ethnic groups live in Myanmar. The Burman are the largest ethnic group, making up two-thirds of the population. The official language is Burmese, but many ethnic groups speak their own dialects. English is a second language often used in government settings and in schools.

    The majority of people live in rural areas near the river valley. Rural families typically have many children while city dwellers may have only one or two.


    Myanmar, formerly know as Burma, gained independence from Britain in 1948. After some years of parliamentary government, rebellions broke out and a military leader took control in 1962.

    A new military rule began in the late 1980s, and in 1989 the rulers changed the name of the country to Myanmar. Some countries do not acknowledge the name change because it came from a non-democratically elected government.

    Political unrest continued through the 1990s and into the 21st century. Demonstrations against the government in 2007 ended with 13 deaths and thousands of arrests.

    On May 2, 2008, as many as 2 million people were affected when Cyclone Nargis slammed into the country, causing tens of thousands of deaths and destroying homes and livelihoods. Days later, the government held the first elections since 1990. The November 2010 elections resulted in military-backed parties maintaining political control.

    Prayer Requests for Myanmar

    • Political stability and peace within the country.
    • The safety and wisdom of World Vision staff working in high-risk areas.