BURMA: Vagrant Beggars in the City YANGOON

by Myit Makha Mediagroup on 1 Jan, 2013

A women of about 36, in worn-out clothes, covering her head with a draper, holding an infant in her bosom, is begging money approaching car after car which are stopping at the U Wisara Road Traffic light.

She can earn 15,000 to 20,000 Kyats daily and sometime more, she said. Because of her pitiable situation with a malnourished infant, she earns such an income, she said.

On the days without ( bringing ) the  child, it is difficult to earn even 10,000 ( Kyats ). “ The infant holding in her bosom wrapping  up in the draper is not her own-child, but hired on money at 5.000 Kyats a day,”she spoke out.

“ Out of 15,000 to 20,000 Kyats we earned, we have to pay 5,000 Kyats a day for hiring the child.” She explained.

It is learnt from the peer groups that among the beggars working at the traffic lights, those accompanied with the infants earn more than the lone ones do.

Due to earning more with the infants,  it becomes the practice of begging with hired infants in the beggars’ environment.

But the supply of the infant for hire is limited, so it is necessary to ask in advance.” She said.

Then she continues to explain,” The  brokers make connections with the owner of the infants, and they pay 3,000 for the child and pocket 2000. We know not beyond that,” she explains.

It is learnt that they could not know the parents or owners of the children, but the brokers bring the children at the place in the morning.

The current hire price is 5000 for the infant under one year and 3000 for the older. But it is secret whereabouts the brokers and children for hire. Ma Kyi Win said that it was a high earning version and easier than other peers.

“The better is,” she said,” when the YCDC policemen make arrest, we can beg mercy giving reason of inability to work due to the infant.”

It is known that most of the vagrant beggars are the women and children and The personnel from YCDC ( Yangon City Development Committee ) and DSW ( Department of Social Welfare )  are arresting them. In the month of October, it is learnt that YCDC arrested 219 vagrant beggars.

“ They make arrest at the traffic Lights sometimes and  sent us to the DSW Camps. There they find jobs for us, but the wages are very low and we cannot do, For us this ( begging ) is good enough.” Said Ma Kyi Win who was arrested and sent to the camp then.

Although YCDC has campaign for getting  the vagrants beggars off streets in the city, but cannot launch regularly. Now it is known from the committee that they are planning to do so.

“ We arrested and gathered them in the vehicle and sent them to the camps organized by DSW, but after 2 or 3 days, they arrived back. We can do nothing.” Said U Tin Htay, a YCDC official.

It is learnt that the vagrant beggars are given vocational trainings at the camps and helped searching for employments by DSW.”

But they earn more by begging than working, so they always run away and then YCDC sent them back again. Therefore we are walking in circle,” said U Myin Kyaw, a retired DSW staff.

“There have been launching the campaigns to get the beggars off the city since the administration of the Myanmar Socialist Program Party. But temporarily stopped during the military rule. Under the elected civil government, the campaign restarts again.” Said the same person.

I the country, it is learnt that the minimum daily wage for the general workers is to be in the range of 2000-3000 Kyats a day.

“In Myanmar, the scarcity of employment and lower wages is the main cause of poverty and the kindness and sympathy of the people encourages the beggars.” comments U Myint Kyaw.

The women who begs at the U Wisara Road Traffic Light, holding the infant, said ” I feels demeaned, but it is very easy and have got the other opportunities.”

And she added,” The people living around here and staff working in the nearby offices provide me with meals and the used clothes and utensils.”

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