Photos of Children of Myanmar

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Children of Myanmar

Myanmar's children are friendly, cheerful and self-sufficient. Many work when they are not in school, selling food and drink along the road, on the ferry or on railway stations. Ko Ko Aung, a very talented boy, is well known in Yangon, where he paints landscapes, sitting on the street.

Four young girls
Small novice monks
Children in Twante
Boy of Twante
Selling on the ferry
Boy painter
At a village temple
Boy in bamboo
Boy of Bago
Boys with “chinthe”
Bago boy
Children of Bago
Cigar seller
Curious children
Little girl of Bago
Girl from Bago
Ringing a bell
Selling eggs
Girl of Hpa-an
Young monks, Hpa-an
Karen girl
Karen boys group
Karen girl dancer
Karen boy dancer
Small boy boxer
Boxer and coach
Karen child dancers
Karen don dance
Watching a game
Boy with thanaka paste
Young novice monk
Novice monks
Selling water bottles
Boy selling water
Selling pomelo fruit
Girls offering flowers
Boy of Kalaw
Palaung children
Girls with handicraft
Small Palaung boy
Waiters in Taunggyi
Posters for sale
Boy with his kite
Kids of Nyaungshwe
Boy of Nyaungshwe
Five kids of Ywa Thit
Flying a kite
Novices, begging bowls
Girls selling souvenirs
Boy seller
School boy
Children in class
Girl selling postcards
Tiny novice monk
Young monks, Mandalay
Young monk, doorway
Spinning a top
“Egg and spoon” race
Indian neighbourhood
Independence day games

Child labour has been and still is common in Myanmar. On the other hand young boys are expected to become a novice monk (samanera) between the ages of 10 and 20 for a time, participating in "shinbyu", the novitiation ceremony once they are seven or older. It is a great honour for the family.

This is one aspect of culture; most children (and women) tend to paint their faces with thanaka paste made from ground bark of particular trees. It is applied for cosmetic beauty but also cools the skin and protects it from sunburn. Children from ethnic minorities, like the Karen, learn their culture; during festivities like Karen New Year various groups, in colourful costumes, sing and perform very fast-moving, superbly coordinated don dances. Boys also perform in boxing matches, accompanied by traditional music.

Unfortunately child soldiers have played and continue to play a major part in the Burmese Army as well as Burmese rebel movements. It was reported in The Independent newspaper in June 2012 that "Children are being sold as conscripts into the Burmese military for as little as $40 and a bag of rice or a can of petrol." And an article in the Bangkok Post on 23 December 2012 reported that the Tatmadaw, Myanmar Armed Forces, continued to use child soldiers including during the army's large offensive against the Kachin Independence Army that month. The newspaper reported that "many of them were pulled off Yangon streets and elsewhere and given a minimum of training before being sent to the front line." This is an aspect of life that is hidden from the outside world.