ALTERNATIVE TO ILLEGAL BUSINESS
Since independence in 1948, the people of Myanmar have been through a lot. Despite peace agreements, there is still ethnic tension and conflict in some areas of the country. These restrict economic development – poverty is rife and employment opportunities are sparse. Economic uncertainty, political instability and poverty are a breeding ground for violence and the trafficking of people and drugs. There is a lack of vocational training and young people often have to travel to other states to get qualifications. The project that started in 2019, Shan Youth YEEA(H) – Young entrepreneurs for ecological alternatives, promotes an economically and environmentally meaningful future for young people in the north of the states of Shan and Kachin in Myanmar.
“NOW I KNOW HOW TO MAKE SOMETHING BIG OUT OF SOMETHING SMALL.”
21-year-old Sai Swan Main is a member of youth group Saung Saee, which SA4D supports together with local organisation Moving Forward Together. Sai has had the opportunity to attend various courses in Namkham, northern Myanmar, as part of the project. In addition to business training, as a young farmer he also completed technical agricultural training. He grew watermelons, maize and various vegetables. “Thanks to the course, I now know how important it is to look after my land. I introduce more variety in my vegetable planting. That keeps the land healthy so I can use it sustainably.” Problems with the land were his greatest challenge. That is why the correct use and integration of organic fertiliser was included in the course. “It was really helpful! In the future, I won’t burn plant waste anymore – I’ll leave it on the ground as natural fertiliser.”
The aim of the project, creating sustainable employment opportunities for young people and their families, improves the young people’s life chances. Sai is confident about the future. “I dream of having a show field to share everything I have learnt with my neighbours. I have prospects and now I know how to make something big out of something small.”