HelpAge International has worked to support older men and women in Myanmar since 2003. Currently we are working in the areas of livelihoods, community mobilisation, health, home care, disaster risk reduction and social protection.
HelpAge implements two models for community development:
- The first uses Older People's Self Help Groups and focuses on empowering older people and promoting their wellbeing and active participation in daily village life.
- The second works through Village Development Committees, which use an inclusive and intergenerational approach to community development.
Life story: Aphee Ohn Kyi, 87
"My husband and I live alone. We raised chicken and ducks for income but we have handed this over to our son now.
"He gave us some money from the business and some rice from our farms, which he is working on. We sell some of this for income and we also sell wood.
(c) Phyu Sin/HelpAge International
"We used to live a long way from the community. Life was so tough, we felt completely disconnected from the people in the village. We received health and home care services, but the distance made it difficult for the healthcare volunteers to fit us into their schedule.
"Then the Older People's Self Help Group built a new home for us close to the village. When I discovered what they had done for us I danced and sang songs saying: 'Oh my God, we finally have a home!'
"Now, our wish has been granted and we own a safe home in the village, close to the rest of the community. Thank you to all the Older People's Self Help Group members for making this happen."
Supporting older people in Myanmar
In the last 12 months, we have carried out a range of activities to support older people in Myanmar:
- Our work with the government has led to the Minister of Social Welfare advocating a social pension scheme for older people. An initial amount of US$ 500,000 has been approved by the government to start a social pension scheme in 2015-2016, which will benefit 25,000 people over 90.
- We have continued to work closely with UNHCR to ensure older people in conflict areas and internally displaced persons camps in Rakhine and Kachin States are included in the humanitarian response.
- Through our work, over 24,000 people have received food security and livelihood support. Over 7,200 more were supported by loan funds managed by Older People's Self Help Groups and Village Development Committees.
- A total of 7,010 older people received care services including homecare, community-based care, psychosocial counselling and community social and recreational activities.
- We have supported the development of 193 Older People’s Self Help Groups and Village Development Committees which have over 1,000 members.
- As part of our disaster risk reduction project in the Ayeyarwaddy delta, we're supporting over 1,700 older people to be better prepared in natural disasters.
- We will pilot a project setting up Village Development Committees in five villages in Kachin State, a volatile and highly impoverished region of Myanmar.
- We will start up a project to improve health services, particularly in the area of non-communicable diseases.
- We will continue collaborating with the government on key policy issues for older people and facilitate the development of the National Social Protection Strategy, National Ageing Strategy and Law for Older People.
- We will advocate for the inclusion of older people in emergency responses and disaster risk reduction work through partnerships with UN agencies and other NGOs.
Action Aid, Oxfam, UN Habitat, ACF, Plan International, National YWCA, National Activities Group, Golden Plain, Karen Baptist Convention, Kesan, Bridge