Brothers 13-year-old Aung Thet Paing (left) and 10-year-old San Lynn Aung (right) no longer attend school. Instead, they spend their days collecting rubbish to help pay off their family’s debts.

In Myanmar’s poorest neighborhoods, 85% of households borrow money from loan sharks just to survive.

Why it matters: The loans can rescue families from an immediate financial emergency, but with interest rates as high as 50% a month, borrowers are trapped in an ever-growing cycle of debt. Many struggle to make their repayments and send their children out to work.

  • Myanmar has one of the worst rates of underage employment in the world. The government estimates that there are 1.3 million child laborers, many of whom are working to help pay off their parents’ debts.
  • “We only have food to eat if we work," says Aung Thet Paing, 13. He spends his days collecting plastic bottles with his 10-year-old brother, rather than going to school.
  • “Sometimes, I think we’ll never be free from this because we are always struggling to pay the money back," says Lone Lone, 20. She struggles to feed her family on her wage as a housemaid, let alone pay back the family’s debts.

Go deeper: Watch the full report from AL Jazeera’s 101 East.

Go deeper

Updated 44 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Why it matters: High-powered social media accelerates the spread of lies and political polarization that motivates people to believe them. Unless the public health sphere can effectively counter misinformation, not even an effective vaccine may be enough to end the pandemic.

Tulsa health official: Trump rally "likely contributed" to coronavirus spike

President Trump speaks at his campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla. on June 20, 2020. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump's campaign rally and related protests in Tulsa in late June "more than likely" contributed to the area's recent surge in confirmed coronavirus cases, Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Public health officials, including Dart himself, had urged the campaign to postpone the rally, fearing that a large indoor gathering with few people wearing masks could accelerate the spread of the virus.