More about Chin State
Chin State is one of the poorest and least developed states in Myanmar. It has a population of approximately 500,000 composed of more than 50 different ethnic tribes. A survey by the UN Development Programme found that 73% of the population live below the poverty line and the World Health Organization estimates that 83% of the population have an inadequate food intake. Although naturally beautiful with rolling mountains and verdant river valleys, infrastructure is minimal and it remains a part of Myanmar which is officially ‘hard to reach’. Many villages have no electricity, no reliable water supply and can only be accessed by motorbike. In the rainy season the network of unmade roads and tracks often becomes impassable. Despite these hardships and the poverty they face, Chin people can be characterized by their politeness, honesty, friendliness and steadfast Christian faith. Crime is almost non-existent, resources are shared and a strong sense of community underpins their whole way of life.
More about Maraland
Maraland straddles the border between Myanmar and Mizoram in north eastern India. It is the poorest region within Chin State and the majority of Mara people live in isolated rural villages where they rely totally on subsistence farming. They are vulnerable not only to the consequences of uncontrolled slash and burn agricultural methods but also to the unpredictable effects of climate change. Day to day life for Mara people is tough. Their poverty, ethnicity, language and geographical remoteness generally excludes them from opportunities for further education and development. It is therefore hard for them to have the vision, creativity and inspiration needed to improve things. They also have very little access to healthcare especially in relation to services for maternal and child health.
More about the work of the Trust
The Waymaker Trust has been set up to act as a catalyst for change especially in the field of women’s development and empowerment where many Mara women still face a lifetime of poverty and injustice. The Trust will be working closely with the existing network of Mara Women’s Groups and will start its mission later this year by carrying out a baseline survey in 10 target villages. The focus moving forward will be on capacity building, on education and literacy (90% of Mara women over the age of 35 remain illiterate), on skills training, on sustainable income generation activities and above all else on hope and aspiration so that women have the opportunity to improve not just their own but also their families living standards and life prospects.