Dawei in Thailand

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The main Tavoyan town of Dawei (formerly known as Tavoy) has been inhabited for at least 500 years. As early as 1586, the town was one of the main producers of tin in Asia, supplying all of India. In the mid-1700s the town became the possession of the Ayutthaya rulers in today's Thailand, who used it as a trade port.

Dawei people inhabit a long coastal stretch of the Tanintharyi Division (known as Tenasserim prior to 1989) in southern Myanmar. There are five major ethnic groups present in the Tanintharyi Division, which runs parallel with Thailand in the thin tract of land that separates the Andaman Sea from the Gulf of Thailand. The Dawei inhabit the northern part of the state, centered around their ancient homeland of Dawei City.

A small number of Dawei people have made their way across the border and now live in refugee camps inside Thailand. They fled to Thailand to escape oppression at the hands of the Burmese authorities. In the mid-1990s, more than 15,000 local civilians were forced to work on the construction of the Ye to Dawei railway. The inhumane conditions resulted in hundreds of deaths. The railway was not constructed for tourism or trade, but to help the Burmese military rapidly deploy troops to the troubled border areas.

What Are Their Lives Like?

For centuries the Dawei people have been peace loving and gentle people, but their patience has been pushed to the limit by the evil activities and abuses of the Burmese junta. Even after arriving in Thailand, one group of refugees was reportedly attacked by a battalion of Myanmar's 62nd Infantry.

Many young Tavoyan men in Dawei have been forced to attend Burmese military training to counter insurgency groups. Today there are at least 22 rebel armies operating against the Burmese in Myanmar.

It is difficult to identify the Dawei today because of their close ethnic and linguistic affinity to the Burmese. It is not easy to judge where one group stops and the other begins.

In addition to cultural differences, their dialect is different enough from standard Burmese to make communication difficult. The Ethnologue states that they are "one of the better known varieties of nonstandard Burmese with profound pronunciation and vocabulary differences from Burmese."

For centuries the Dawei people have been a peace-loving and gentle people.
What Are Their Beliefs?

Pray for the authority of Christ to bind hindering spiritual forces to lead them from darkness to light.

Pray for signs and wonders among them and for great breakthroughs with a rapid multiplication of disciples and house churches.

Pray for bold workers who are driven by the love of the Holy Spirit to go to them.

Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among them.

Prayer Points

Scripture Prayers for the Dawei, Tavoyan in Thailand.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Dawei, Tavoyan
People Name in Country Dawei, Tavoyan
Natural Name Dawei
Pronunciation dah-WAY
Alternate Names Dawai; Dawei; Tavoy; Tavoya
Population this Country 600
Population all Countries 459,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 19250
ROP3 Code 114965
ROP25 Code 308015
ROP25 Name Tavoyan / Dawei
Country Thailand
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country Thailand
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked

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Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent
100.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Tavoyan (600 speakers)
Language Code tvn   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Unknown
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Tavoyan (600 speakers)
Language Code tvn   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Tavoyan

Primary Language:  Tavoyan

Bible Translation Status:  Unspecified

Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2023  Suparat - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.