Social Documentary Photography – Forcing Farmers Into Poverty Thilawa, Myanmar

Kyaw Win & family “If I have land, I have food. If I have cows, I have food.” -Kyaw Win
Kyaw Win & family
“If I have land, I have food. If I have cows, I have food.” -Kyaw Win

This social documentary photography was submitted to Edge of Humanity Magazine by Documentary & Architecture Photographer Raphael Olschner.

From project “Thilawa Forced Relocation” by Raphael Olschner.

Click on any image to see Raphael’s portfolio and projects.

Impoverishment of relocated farmers at Thilawa Special Economic Zone

Myanmar is hoping to attract international investment with the construction of the Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Bulldozers are already flattening the land. They are forcibly removing the villagers who have been farming the land for generations. The farmers are relocated to a site where their old lifestyle is impossible. Houses are built right on top of each other, there is no land to farm or raise livestock. The government provided compensation, but this is neither enough to build a new house or to live off. The villagers were promised jobs but these have not materialised. With no adequate compensation and their livelihood taken away, the villagers are despairing with little hope for the future. All they want is new land to farm, or sufficient compensation to buy new land somewhere so they can get back their livelihoods and provide for the future.

In the village of Alwan Sot, only one house is left standing. It belongs to Kyaw Win. Building a new house at the relocation site has used up all the compensation money, and it’s still not finished. He is refusing to move his family until the authorities provide him with enough compensation to buy new land or give him new land to farm.