John Kottelenberg spent the second half of February in Myanmar meeting with the leadership of both the Child Development Centre (CDC) and the Good Shepherd Home (GSH). The purpose of their meetings was to begin discussing the challenges and shortcomings of children’s homes, so prevalent in Myanmar, which remove children from their homes and families in order to receive an education. Often, children’s homes are seen as a family’s only option to give their children hope for a better future since good quality education is rarely available in poor, rural areas of Myanmar. 

A representative of a Christian organization which specializes in responding to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children around the world presented to the leaders of the CDC and the GSH the history of children’s homes, information about the emotional needs of children, and also information about the direction that the Department of Social Welfare in Myanmar is going, which is championing the rights of children to be raised in a family (which began when that department declared a moratorium on the registration of orphanages and children’s homes a few years ago).

This strong message—that children’s homes are an unnatural trend which must be reversed—was difficult to receive because the leaders and parents who attended these meetings have a strongly entrenched view that the solution to poverty begins with children’s homes funded by foreigners. The participants were assured that Word & Deed’s support will not be withdrawn overnight since careful planning is required before moving to an alternative solution, but it was also discussed that the best long-term solution will require the support and commitment of the local village people, surrounded and supported by the local church.

Please thank the Lord with us that this conversation has begun and that our partners in Myanmar are open to the discussion. Pray for wisdom for the leaders of the CDC and the GSH as they begin considering, with input from Word & Deed and their local Reformed churches, better long-term solutions for their children’s education. 

Non Profit Organization Website by Pronk Graphics (MT)