Friday, 29 July 2016

Children, not tourist attractions: keeping families together in Myanmar

Children walk through a rice field in Dala, one of the locations for orphanage tourism
© UNICEF Myanmar/2016/Andy Brown
Every twenty minutes, a busy ferry crosses the river from downtown Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, to the rural village of Dala on the opposite bank. On a recent morning, the ferry was packed with local commuters wearing Burmese ‘longyi’ skirts, vendors selling speckled eggs and cigarettes, and a handful of adventurous tourists.

As soon as I disembarked at Dala pier, I was approached by a thick-set young man with a pony tail and baseball cap. He introduced himself as Meh Meh, 28, and offered me a tour of the area by rickshaw. “What’s your name, where you from, you want trishaw tour?” he asked. “I take you to pagoda, fishing village, Cyclone village,orphanage. 15,000 Kyats.”