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This Day of Change

A teenager stirs a pot of curry in the kitchen of a teashop in Mandalay, Myanmar, on Jan. 20, 2009. There are about 40 boys working in this teashop, all from the same rural village in Shan State. They make from $15 – $25 USD per month, working seven days a week to send the money home to their families in the countryside. They get three days off a year to return home and visit their hometown.

This Day of Change, the Courrier Japon project that took place on Obama’s inauguration day, is taking shape. The book is expected by the end of April. Click here to see examples photographers and their work (Patience…. the website takes a while to load and the list is not complete—no Jerry on the map yet—but approximately one photographer is added each day.)

Click here for a video in Japanese on the project.

2 replies on “This Day of Change”

Just a reminder

many of the boys working at tea shops are orphans or have ran away from horrible family situations such as a drunk and abusive father or abusive step parents. They NEED these jobs and without them they’s be coerced into crime…i am a Burmese and live in Yangon, all my life.

When people see young boys working at teashops they sometimes scream ‘child labour!’ but unless a alternative can be found for their livlihood, pl don’t think you are doing them a favour if they lose their jobs. At least here they have food and shelter. State orphanges are grim places and monasteries/nunneries running orphanages are over populated already.



Wyn Tin Tut,
Many thanks for your comment, which is a very important point. I fully agree. What you describe is quite similar to the situations Jerry and I found while working on a project investigating child labor in Cambodia. In many ways, societal conditions overlap. You are absolutely right–these jobs are necessary. It is sometimes easy for people at a distance to say children should not work, simple as that. But that argument does nothing to address the underlying problems and the overall situation, nor the cultural context in which these situations arise. The kids I have talked to say they are happy to have work and food–far better than the alternative.
(If you are interested in reading one of our reports from Cambodia, you can find it here:

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