I’d Like You To Know: U Aye Than’s Story

March 2, 2016


U Aye Than, a 46-year-old fisherman, lives in Pan Zin village. It is located in the southernmost part of Myanmar and is home to 2,800 people. Most villages in this area are located on small islands, surrounded by blue sea and covered with lush green mangrove trees. Depending on the season, U Aye Than goes to sea almost every day to fish. He is married to Daw Khine Win, 42, and they have six children. His story is the story of community-driven development (CDD) in Myanmar and how it is making a difference nationwide.


It is our culture that the villagers work together for the benefit and development of the village.

Every morning at 4 am, I get up to prepare to go to the sea with my small boat. This is crab season so I need to prepare the traps for catching crabs. At home, my wife runs a noodle shop to earn extra money to support the family. In the evening, I come back home from the sea to have dinner with my family.

Two elder children are in Myeik city. Four children are with us in the village and they all go to school. I encourage all my children to finish their schooling. I want my daughter to become a teacher. She is now in the 10th grade. My eldest son is studying at university and also working as a motorbike taxi driver in Myeik. I don’t want them to work as a fisherman like me. It is a very tiring job. I want them to get educated and get a better job.

It’s very common for us to work together in the village, for example renovating the road or repairing the bridge. We help each other; we value teamwork and we work together.

An important part of the CDD project is to encourage men and women to participate equally in the project. Everybody has his or her own right and responsibility to contribute and is responsible for the success of the project.

With the CDD, we identified our priorities for our village. We decided that our priority is to renovate the school, then the road and bridges, and then upgrade the water and electricity supply for the third year.

We needed to fix up the school for our children because it kept getting flooded when it rained or the tide was high. Now our children can go to school throughout the rainy season without worrying about getting wet.