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.

  • Population: 52,797,300
  • Life Expectancy: 65 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 84%
  • School Enrollment: 84%
  • Land Mass: 261,228 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 93%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 52/1000
  • 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.


Despite an increase in the geographic coverage of education services in Myanmar, a significant number of children still will not be able to afford or complete five years of primary school education.


Investments in health and education remain very low. Myanmar is the only developing country in Asia where military budget exceeds the combined health and education budget.



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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 2014.

  • To help children feel safer in the community, we trained them and their parents on child protection issues, particularly the prevention of child trafficking.

  • We equipped early childhood care and development centers with materials and teacher trainings, and educated the community about the importance of early learning for young children.

  • We improved access to education for all through vocational education centers where school drop-outs, adults, and people with disabilities were taught to read, write, and do basic math.

  • In partnership with local health centers, we provided trainings for mothers of at-risk children on nutritious food preparation and growth monitoring to prevent malnutrition.

  • Community maternal and child health improved, as a result of our sessions for pregnant women on the importance of prenatal and postnatal care, as well as safe deliveries.

  • Demonstrating Christ’s love through our actions, we worked among the children and families of the community to promote peace and justice and encourage understanding.

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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 7,700 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Myanmar. Highlights include:

    • Improving water access by working with communities to construct and rehabilitate hand-dug wells, gravity-fed water systems, and tanks.
    • Providing loans and other microfinance opportunities to support commerce, agriculture, and education needs.
    • Assisting the government to end recruitment of child soldiers and release underage children from the armed forces.
    • Supporting the return, assistance, and reintegration of trafficking survivors.

    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 known 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

    • Please pray for rural health campaigns in which we transport doctors and nurses to remote villages to treat children and families.
    • Pray also for the success of simple solutions to better health, such as trainings we offer to school children on handwashing.