Burmese in United Kingdom

Burmese
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2022
Kerry Olson  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Burmese
Country: United Kingdom
10/40 Window: No
Population: 14,000
World Population: 32,291,400
Primary Language: Burmese
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 0.50 %
Evangelicals: 0.10 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Burmese
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Burma was a colony of Great Britain at one time, so the Burmese are one of the ethnic groups that is given special consideration for emigrating to the UK. Some of them are refugees from the oppressive government of Myanmar, and others are students. The universities in Myanmar are understaffed and under-funded and often get shut down for months or even years, creating an enormous demand for education in the UK.


At one time, most of those from Myanmar, who received refugee status in the UK, were from the Karen tribes. There is a strong Church among the Karens, but none among the Burmese, who remain Buddhist. There are a few ethnic Burmese people who now live primarily in cities, such as London, Liverpool, Yorkshire, Sheffield, Cardiff, Portsmouth, and Gosport.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Burmese face crime, drug abuse, discrimination, and violence. Many still feel connected to their mother country and stay in contact with relatives there. Although they are battling with being minorities in the UK, they also have a sense of pride in their new country, which enables them to survive and, to a lesser extent, succeed.


The minority groups of the UK hold a variety of occupations, primarily in the cities. Most have wage-paying jobs in factories that manufacture metals, machinery, engines, textiles, flour or chemicals. Others have become small business owners. Because of the geography of the UK, many live close to ports, where they work in shipbuilding and repair.


The Burmese have been influenced by the English. Few of their original cultural traits still exist. They have taken on western dress, speak the English language, and strive for the western level of success.


Most have kept Buddhism, partly as something from their culture they can still cling to. The Burmese have been able to establish cultural and religious events in the UK, like the Buddhist water festival.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Burmese are predominantly Hinayana Buddhists. The traditional goal in Buddhism is to seek the middle path to Nirvana, or ultimate peace. They believe that death is not a threat to one who has done good deeds. Instead, it is simply a "passing" from one life to another. They believe that those with less merit are reborn as demons, ghosts, animals or inhabitants of hell.


Though the Burmese are predominantly Buddhist, they have mingled many animistic practices (based on the belief that non-human objects have spirits) with Buddhism. All of their homes have altars for the spirits, as well as a statue of Buddha.

What Are Their Needs?

The Burmese left their homeland in search of peace. They need loving Christ followers who will introduce them to the Prince of Peace. Fervent prayer and increased evangelism efforts are the keys to seeing them reached with the gospel.

Prayer Points

Pray that the sheer wonder of knowing Jesus and the impact he has on lives will draw the Burmese in the UK to the Throne of Grace.


Pray the hearts of the Burmese people would be stirred by the Holy Spirit readying them for the time when they hear the gospel message.


Pray they will experience dreams and visions of Jesus leading them into a saving relationship with him.


Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among the Burmese people in The United Kingdom.

Text Source:   Joshua Project