Why we work in South East Asia
The countries where we work - Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines - each have their own complex contexts. South East Asia has experienced significant economic growth in recent years but there are stark contrasts in who has benefited from this development. Many children remain without basic healthcare and education because of where they live or which ethnic group they belong to. Children under five and pregnant mothers are among the most at-risk of preventable disease and health complications during pregnancy and birth.
Home to many ethnicities, it’s often ethnic minority groups who live in remote villages, without access to healthcare or schools due to distance to services, lack of birth certificates or citizenship, and cultural discrimination. And in many places – from rural villages to big cities – children born into poverty can miss out on their basic rights and be more at risk of violence and abuse.
South East Asia is also a region with a history of political stability and frequent natural disasters. In recent years, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis have destroyed parts of Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. Whenever this happens, the safety, health and education of children is under threat, particularly for girls, because disasters tend to exacerbate pre-existing vulnerabilities. Boys are also at risk of being exploited through child labour and trafficking.
Right now, the Rohingya Crisis
in Myanmar is one of the most devastating, human-made crises to occur in South East Asia. Described as the "world's most persecuted minority", more than 655,000 Rohingya people have been forced to flee Myanmar to Bangladesh. We are on the ground in Bangladesh to support Rohingya refugees crossing the border. But there are still many Rohingya children and families within Myanmar who need our support until we find a durable solution to the crisis.
Save the Children's work in South East Asia
Save the Children work in Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines to protect children from harm and help them grow up healthy and with an education. We are providing education to ethnic minority children living in refugee camps on the Thai-Myanmar border, and Rohingya children still living within Myanmar.
In Cambodia, we are working with the government to strengthen child protection systems. And in Laos, we are helping children and women from ethnic minority communities access healthcare, pre- and post-natal care and birthing support and improve health knowledge and family care practices.
Watch how Save the Children is helping newborn babies survive in Cambodia