HelpAge has worked in Myanmar since 2003. Our aim is to support older people so they can play an active role in their communities.
The majority of HelpAge's work in Myanmar is carried out through 198 community groups called older people's self-help groups.
These groups reduce poverty and help older people prepare for natural hazards. Members themselves manage the groups, meeting regularly and planning solutions, for example, generating group income through rice or seed banks.
The groups have benefited more than 28,000 households, including children who are looked after by grandparents.
Life story: Daw Khin Than, 74
(c) HelpAge International
"I live with two daughters and three grandchildren.
"I used to sell snacks and traditional food at the market but I didn't make much money.
"Whenever I needed money to invest in my business, I went to loan sharks to get small loan. The loan shark charged high interest rates and I was always in debt.
"I can't forget the day I got the loan from HelpAge to expand my business. All the group members voted for me to be part of the livelihoods activity because I am one of the poorest older people in the area I live in.
"I also received livelihoods training and decided to make liquid soap and sell traditional foodstuffs. The soap is a good-earning business as every household uses it.
"I cannot sell foodstuff everyday due to weather problems, so I decided to do both businesses at the same time so that I can have more money.
"With the assistance from HelpAge, I become a breadwinner in my family. Thank you so much."
Supporting older people in Myanmar
In the last 12 months, we have carried out a range of activities to support older people in Myanmar.
- Through older people's self-help groups, we have helped more than 8,200 of the poorest and most vulnerable households, providing seeds and fertiliser for farming, tools for home gardening, nets and fishing boats, vaccinations for livestock and loans to set up small businesses.
- We have trained more than 3,900 people in new farming techniques and fishing methods. older people's self-help groups have also started communal business ventures that community members plan and work on together to improve village life.
- We have provided homecare services to 650 frail and homebound older people.
- We have provided health, hygiene and nutrition education and drinking water facilities to over 22,000 people.
- We have provided ophthalmic screening to more than 1,100 older people and distributed glasses.
- Over 6,400 older people's self-help group members have produced community-based disaster risk reduction action plans on how to cope with natural disasters.
- HelpAge and older people’s self-help groups have been lobbying for older people’s rights. At the government’s request HelpAge conducted a nationwide research survey to determine the current socio-economic situation of older people. The survey has been the basis for the government to write a National Policy on Ageing and a Law on Ageing.
- We're working with the Government to develop policies and programmes that protect people from the various risks and shocks they face throughout their lives. We're assisting the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement to deliver national policies on ageing and build the skills and structures needed to implement them.
- We will continue to provide regular health check-ups, medication and training on health and active ageing for older people as well as supporting the government to reinforce its work on non-communicable diseases and mental health.
- We will train health workers, family care-givers and community volunteers in homecare approaches and the needs of vulnerable older people so that older people receive quality care at home.
- We will also carry out research and advise the government on the need for policies that provide poor older people with income security and better health services in old age.
- We will continue providing food and income for 5,000 of the poorest and most marginalised older people and households through small enterprises, vocational and skills development training and micro-credit schemes.
National YMCA, Network Activities Group, Golden Plain, Karen Baptist Convention, Kesan, Action Aid Myanmar, Plan International, Oxfam, UN-habitat, ACF.