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Myanmar
Facts
Area: 676,552 sq km
Population: 50 million
Languages: Burmese, ethnic languages
Religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Muslim
GNI per capita: US$1,039
Currency: MMK (kyat);1USD = 1,205 kyats
 
Myanmar, previously known as Burma, was conquered by Britain over a period of 62 years (1824-1886) and incorporated into its Indian Empire. Myanmar was administered as a province of India until 1937 when it became a separate, self-governing colony; independence from the Commonwealth was attained in 1948.
 
The country is characterized by subtropical forest and a monsoon climate with three seasons. In summer, which lasts from February to May, there is little to no rain and temperatures reach their highest. The rainy season begins in May and runs into October. The weather then becomes dry and cool until February.
 
Myanmar is endowed with extremely fertile soil, but its people remain very poor and are getting poorer. It is one of the poorest nations in the world. Decades of military rule have devastated the country’s infrastructure, and underemployment and economic stagnation have become the norm. More than half of its labor force works in agriculture, growing rice, corn, sugarcane, and a variety of other crops. However, many of the farming families struggle just to grow enough food to feed their children. 

Though a large number of Myanmar’s people are literate, the country’s desperate economic situation indicates that many children are without opportunities to receive a good education or adequate health care. Unless they receive help, children will never reach their academic potential and will find it difficult to escape the cycle of poverty.

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