Aye Yeik Mon Orphanage, Burma
A sad aspect of life in Burma is the number of orphans and abandoned children, which has increased in recent years. It is estimated there are now more than 280 centers that care for 36,000 children, many of whom were abandoned by single mothers living in rural areas and students who felt they could not provide for their children. Last June, a central committee was formed under the auspices of the Myanmar Women’s Affairs Committee to find ways to help women who feel they have no choice but to abandon their children.
Aye Yeik Mon Orphanage was founded in 1963 by two nuns to care for abandoned baby girls. The orphanage is now home to 120 girls, ages one to 18, and four nuns are responsible for their care, providing food, clothing, shelter, and education. Local volunteers provide additional support and tutoring on nights and weekends.
When we began our partnership with the orphanage in 2011, the girls slept on the wooden floor, with no mattresses; there were four old toilets that were shared by the girls; and the roof leaked. To date, we have provided $66,054 in funding to the orphanage to address these needs.
The first project we supported improved the children’s sleeping facilities. There are three dormitories at the orphanage, and one, Tun Myint Hall, was in dire need of repair, especially to the roof and ceiling. It was built to accommodate 40 girls on two floors, but all 40 girls slept on the first floor, especially during the rainy season. Our donation of $18,877 helped first to repair the roof and then to provide new beds and furnishings to make the space as comfortable as possible for the girls.
A further donation of $11,055 provided the funding needed to renovate the kitchen and dining hall, providing clean, adequate places to prepare and serve meals every day.
The most recent project funded by GCF was to align with our WASH initiative, providing access to clean water and toilets. At the orphanage, water comes from two sources: the red canal by the orphanage compound and a government-provided tap. The canal water was stored at the communal tank paved with bricks and used for bathing. During the rainy season, the canal water became dirty from runoff, causing scabies and skin rashes from the bacteria in the water. Drinking water provided by the government tap is stored in steel tanks, but the water was hard and contained too much iron, making it unhealthy for the children.
Grand Circle Foundation donated $7,923 to install a water-purification system to treat the canal water and tap water for overall use. The water is treated and piped to the water tanks and to the main storage tank in the kitchen. The water is also distributed to three more tanks for drinking. Now the safer water is not only for drinking, but also for kitchen use.
Our donation also funded an additional nine toilets with a water-supply connection, to ensure the girls have access to hand-washing stations and the means to maintain proper hygiene.
The chief nun, Daw jālā therī, said “This is unbelievable, and I’m very happy with this project. Every year, especially in the rainy season, we have many problems for the young kids with skin diseases and cost some money. Now that problem is gone, and we will be able to provide clean and safe water for everyone here. Great thanks to Grand Circle Foundation.”
A lot has been accomplished at the Aye Yeik Mon Orphanage, but more remains to be done to provide a brighter future for the children in its care. Please help us create a secure facility and clean environment for these children to thrive and learn. Donate today through Grand Circle Foundation, and we will make the arrangements.