Intha in Myanmar (Burma)

The Intha have only been reported in Myanmar (Burma)
Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Expanded PDF Profile

Introduction / History

Myanmar gained its independence from Britain in 1948. Much of modern Burmese history has tragically been one of civil wars between the Burmese majority and the nation’s minority groups that includes the Shan, Karen, Lahu and Rohingya. The Burmese military launched another coup in 2021 and is currently ruling the country.

The Intha people live in central Myanmar or Burma on and near Lake Inle. They speak a nonstandard variety of Burmese. The Intha make their living through agriculture and fishing.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Many Intha villages are built and float on top of Lake Inle. The easiest way to travel for the Intha is by boat. The Intha have the unusual custom of rowing with their legs not their arms. Rowing by leg takes special balance and practice. This leg rowing frees the hands of the Intha to work on things while moving across the lake.

Fishing is an important industry for the Intha. They dry and salt the fish they catch on the lake. Then they sell the fish in order to buy things they cannot make for themselves. Agriculture is also a key business among the Intha. They cultivate rice, tropical fruits, vegetables, coconuts, and palm trees on the shores of the lake. Women make jewelry to sell on market days.

Marriage to one spouse is the norm. Since access to modern medicine in limited, life expectancy is low and child mortality is high. When someone gets ill, the family often first visits the village shaman, not a physician. The Intha are primarily an oral culture. They have a rich tradition of songs, dances and festive clothing which they wear on Buddhist holiday. If a son joins a Buddhist monastery, it is an honor for the boy’s family. Children especially girls frequently quit school after a few years to help their families make a living.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Almost all of the Intha people are Theravada Buddhists. Though local evangelists have visited the Intha, they are strongly attached to their Buddhist practice and animist beliefs and have not been receptive to belief in Jesus Christ.

Buddhism is the major world religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama or the Buddha, who lived in the 6th and 5th century BC in ancient India. The Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths by which one can gain spiritual knowledge and escape the endless cycles of reincarnation. Theravada, one of the two major branches of Buddhism, declares that by following the Noble Eightfold Path of right intentions and right actions that a Buddhist can achieve nirvana or a state of freedom and salvation.

To most Buddhists, however, these things have far less meaning than their traditional beliefs, which are usually animistic. In animism, evil spirits must be appeased through prayers, sacrifices and rituals. Buddhism allows people to mix Buddhist teachings with traditional religion.

Two of the important Buddhist yearly holidays are Vesak, the Buddha's birthday celebrated in May or June and Bodhi Day, the holiday in December or January which commemorates the day that the historical Buddha experienced enlightenment under a Bodhi tree.


What Are Their Needs?

Teams of believers can bring modern medicine and solar panels to the Intha. Since the Intha people speak a non-standard variety of Burmese, they would probably be able to adequately use the Burmese Bible. However, it would be beneficial to produce evangelistic materials (such as audio-visual materials, songs, tracts, etc.) in the Intha heart language.


Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to send Holy Spirit anointed workers to the Intha.

Pray that the hearts of the Intha would be softened and open to hearing the good news.

Pray the spiritual resources will be translated into the Intha’s language.

Pray that the Lord raises up a disciple making movement among the Intha of Myanmar in this decade.


Scripture Prayers for the Intha in Myanmar (Burma).


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  
Expanded PDF Profile

Shan State
Source:  Asia Harvest      Download

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-06-17
People Name General Intha
People Name in Country Intha
Population this Country 102,000
Population all Countries 102,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 2
Alternate Names Inntha
People ID 12237
ROP3 Code 104040
Country Myanmar (Burma)
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 12  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Approximately 170,000 Intha people live in south-west Shan State of Myanmar....most Intha can be found living in villages surrounding Lake Inle, near Taunggyi.   Source:  Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004
Country Myanmar (Burma)
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 12  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Approximately 170,000 Intha people live in south-west Shan State of Myanmar....most Intha can be found living in villages surrounding Lake Inle, near Taunggyi..   Source:  Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004
Primary Language Intha (102,000 speakers)
Language Code int   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Unknown
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Intha (102,000 speakers)
Language Code int   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Intha

Primary Language:  Intha

Bible Translation Status:  Translation Started

Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Text / Printed Matter The Ancient Path Live Global
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Subdivision: Theravada
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
98.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.07 %)
0.10 %
Ethnic Religions
1.90 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
0.0 %
Independent
0.0 %
Orthodox
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
Protestant
100.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source Second Wind Network 
Map Source Anonymous  
Video Source Asia Harvest
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more