Myanmar’s Orphanage Industry

07 Mar

The children in the photo above live in an orphanage…. but their parents are alive

All children in orphanages are orphans, right? Tragically, no. Statistics reveal that 80% of children who live in orphanages around the world have at least one living parent. Research shows that in Myanmar, a country in southeast Asia from which I just returned, 97% of children in orphanages have at least one living parent.

If you are like I was, you are probably asking, “Why are children with living parents living in orphanages?” I would love to tell you a little bit of what I learned while I was in Myanmar last month with Stephen Servant, Heaven’s Family’s president.

The northern part of Myanmar is very rural and mountainous. In those mountains are many remote villages, where people are generally very poor, and there is lack of education for their children. Feeding a family can be a daily struggle. Sadly, “orphanage” directors in Myanmar’s larger cities employ people to travel to those remotes villages to recruit children for their orphanages. In some cases, rural pastors recommend that parents send their children to an orphanage in a large city with which they are familiar.

Parents—who desire the best for their children—subsequently send them to these “orphanages” whose directors promise them that their children will receive a good education

A typical village, high in the Arakan mountains, where children are recruited for orphanages.

The quality of the care given to children certainly varies among Myanmar’s hundreds of “orphanages.” But one thing is consistent among them, and that is the fact that all the children who live in orphanages suffer the emotional trauma of being sent away by their parents. Even though their parents thought they were acting in their child’s best interest, the children generally always feel unwanted, rejected, and unworthy. This leads to a significant increased risk of them later being trafficked, committing suicide, or engaging in criminal activities.

From what I observed while I was in Myanmar, there are two types of “orphanage” directors. Some genuinely believe that they are doing the best thing for the children under their care. Then there are those who operate an “orphanage” because it is a means to secure funding from foreign donors so that they can earn a living.

Thankfully, the ministry of Heaven’s Family has been working for years to change this tragic situation in Myanmar. Working in partnership with another ministry called Kinnected Myanmar, Heaven’s Family has been returning orphanage children to their homes and reuniting them with their parents, and following best social service practices in the process. Beyond that, Heaven’s Family has been raising awareness in remote villages to help slow the flow of children to orphanages, and has recently begun to help implement Myanmar’s first foster care system to serve true orphans and children who shouldn’t be living with their birth parents.

If you are interested in learning more about all of this, Stephen produced an informative video that you can watch by clicking here. If you want to financially support Heaven’s Family’s efforts of reuniting children with their families, you can do so by clicking here.

In other news, The Awakening! Magazine is now arriving in Amish mailboxes all across North America. Please pray for the tens of thousands of Amish folks who are being exposes the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and some amazing testimonies. You can read the entire issue by clicking here. The replies to this issue are just beginning to come in. Here is a brief one, from an Amish man who lives in Lancaster County, PA, that arrived while I was writing this update to you:


I just thought I need to comment on the Awakening issues that you’re sending out. We’re also from the old order Amish and we’ve also questioned some of our culture’s long-standing traditions that might not necessarily be in line with what the Bible teaches us. We learned to appreciate these letters and to be open to the Truth and what God is trying to teach us. (I will admit in the past these letters might’ve went straight to the trash without even reading them.) It seemed like our feelings were just printed out on paper as I don’t think I could have written it better. So thank you for your dedication and efforts in helping spread the Truth, in spite of all the “persecution”. We look forward to the next letters.  


Thank you, as always, for helping to make all this ministry possible by your prayers and financial support. Next month I will report on the response from 2024’s first issue of The Awakening!

For God’s Glory


P.S. This monthly report is sent to those who have supported the Amish Outreach. Here is the link to make another donation: // You can make a one-time or recurring gift there. Thanks again!

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