Mekong sub region

Photo: Ralph Hodgson/Tearfund

The Mekong sub region is a stretch of forested hills and valleys straddling Yunnan province in China, the eastern Shan state of Myanmar (Burma), northern Thailand and north west of Laos.

The Mekong River defines this area. In this region, an illegal trade in goods and people runs in parallel with legitimate business.

The most vulnerable people, mostly ethnic minorities from Myanmar, are being exploited. Women and children are particularly at risk, as are migrant communities who do not have citizens’ rights in their new country.

Due to ongoing conflict in border areas of Myanmar, people are forced to relocate. These people are often very vulnerable, experiencing social and economic poverty, family breakdown and stress, as well as the risk of child abuse, human trafficking, intravenous drug use and HIV.

Tearfund’s vision for the Mekong sub-region is that local churches will help transform the lives of vulnerable migrant groups from ethnic minority communities.

Mekong Minority Foundation (MMF), a Tearfund partner in Mekong sub region is mobilising local churches to help migrant workers and their children trapped in a vicious cycle of exploitation in Northern Thailand.

A little background ...

Tearfund’s vision for the Mekong sub-region is that local churches will help to transform the lives of vulnerable migrant groups from ethnic minority communities. Tearfund works with five partners in the area, of which four are Christian non-government aid organisations and one is a church.

Over six years, Tearfund aims to inspire 100 churches in the Mekong sub-region to meet the needs of these vulnerable migrant communities. In particular, Tearfund is focusing on preventing the spread of HIV among migrant workers. Given the diversity of ethnic groups in the Mekong sub-region, we are developing local language resource materials to do this.

Other work includes helping people to prepare for natural disasters, such as cyclones and floods, and working with children at risk, especially vulnerable girls.