Community Networking and Remittances as Social Capital for Rural Community Development in Chin State Myanmar
CDSSEA 07: Community Networking and Remittances as Social Capital for Rural Community Development in Chin State, Myanmar
Cung Lian Hu
Sixty years of military rule and economic depression in Myanmar have led to large-scale emigration; Vanzang village in northeast Chin State is no exception. Migrants have resettled, many of them as refugees in Australia, Europe and USA. They send money back to the village, where their remittances have played a crucial role sustaining their families and also in funding education, health care, and improving village infrastructure. But there is a down side: a wealth gap has appeared between families who have migrant relatives and those who don’t. Village society has become more materialistic and many customs have changed. Some families have fallen apart when migrants discovered that their remittances had been mismanaged. The author, who is himself Chin and lived in the village as a child, investigates the roles of kinship, religious, and community networks in mobilizing funds for community development, and explores the impacts of remittances—both good and bad—on village society.