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Project Kalay is a charitable initiative dedicated to promoting health and hygiene in under-served populations.  Our flagship project started in 2015 in Myanmar (Burma) seeks to improve the health of orphans in that country through health education and routine hygiene practices.  We are a 501(c)3 charity and donors may make tax deductible contributions.  Just click on the Donate button above.

Burma's first multiparty election in 2010 served as a catalyst for political reform, giving rise to a new civilian-backed military government.  Political prisoners were released, and laws prohibiting unions were lifted. [1]  Even with this positive progress, in 2011, the nominal amount of approximately $0.60 was spent per capita on healthcare. This troubling estimate, coupled with the status of Myanmar’s health care system, has led to a plight of morbidity for the nation’s poorest.[2]

The World Health Report ranked Myanmar as 190 of 191 member states on “overall health system performance” in 2011. [3]  This accompanies a mortality rate of 1 in 20 for children under the age of 5.[4]  These statistic are even more problematic when the daily interaction of a Myanmar citizen and healthcare are considered: a lack of national health insurance, severely understaffed hospitals (5 physicians per 10,000 people), and primary of care provided by non-medical staff and laymen midwives.[5]

Particularly pertinent to this discussion is water, sanitation and hygiene. In a 2014 report, the World Health Organizan reveals that only 4% of Myanmar households access water via pipes at home, with only 34% of the remaining 96% using water treatment.  Further, 54% and 70% of toilets are in the form of slab and pit for urban and rural areas, respectively. These foundational deficiencies resulted in 5,394 diarrheal deaths in 2012, alone.[6]   An effort to improve hygiene behaviors is essential to remedy diarrhea-relate morbidity and mortality rates and reduce other gastrointestinal and respiratory infections.  While many Myanmar citizens are aware that hand washing should be utilized, they have a very low awareness of the utility of soap in this practice. 

[1] BBC. “Timeline: Reforms in Myanmar.” BBC Asia, 8 July 2015, Click to see BBC Report.

 [2] Stephen, J, et al. Rehabilitating Health in the Myanmar Transition. Nov. 2013,

[3] World Health Organization (WHO). The World Health Report: Improving Performance: 2000: Health Systems – Improving Performance. Geneva, World Health Organization, 1 Jan. 2000. See: WHO Report

[5] Chan, Dr Xin Hui. “Myanmar in Transition: Primary Care and Public Health.” Project Southeast Asia, University of Oxford, 20 Oct. 2013, See: Myanmar Public Health Roundtable

[6]  UN/WHO. “Sanitation, Drinking-Water and Hygiene Status Overview*.” Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS), 2015,  Click to see UN/WHO Report

Our current focus is the prevention of disease through simple and direct improvements in hygiene and sanitation in Myanmar orphanages.  We are providing direct donations of hand soap while seeking long term change through the development of teaching aids to assist monks, nuns and teachers in teaching orphans and other poor children the importance of proper hand washing to prevent infectious disease.  These simple and inexpensive changes can make a huge difference in their lives by preventing disease.

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