No One Tried to Help Us
Separation is the only option offered a mother and her children
“No one tried to help us,” lamented Khaw Leng Ting, a young mother who lives in rural Myanmar.
Just a few months after joyfully giving birth to Mawia, her third child, tragedy struck—her husband died of malaria. Adding to that tragedy, her relatives didn’t offer her any support. Instead, they encouraged Khaw to send her children to an orphanage. After struggling for four years to keep her family together, Khaw felt she had no choice but to send her three children to a nearby orphanage in 2006.
About a year later things began to turn around for Khaw when she met and married a widower. He already had three children of his own. But Khaw’s children were forced to remain in the orphanage because she had signed a contract that required them to stay until they turned 18 years old—a condition of their acceptance. Her two oldest retuned home when they reached 18, but the youngest boy, Mawia, remained behind. He even tried to run away once but was caught.
The Orphan’s Tear Ministry began working with Mawia’s orphanage in 2016 to reunite the children with their families. Social workers met with Mawia to learn his story and soon afterwards tracked down his family and began making assessments. They were very pleased to learn that Khaw’s new husband was very accepting of her children—a rarity in Myanmar, as most step-parents in that culture refuse to accept their step-children. Mawia went home for a short visit in December of 2016 to see how he and the family would relate. To the delight of our social workers, Mawia seemed very happy to be home, and his step-father didn’t treat him differently than his own.
The big day finally arrived—Mawia said goodbye to the orphanage…for good. He went home. Over the next twelve months, social workers continued to monitor Mawia and the family to ensure he was doing well. As a 16-year-old who spent a decade in an orphanage, Mawia’s behavior can be challenging at times, but our social workers were there to help the family cope with the challenges.
The next step? Mawia is very happy, healthy, and has a lot of support from his loving family. His parents have learned new family skills from social workers. Time to close the books on Mawia’s case and turn to the next child trapped in an orphanage.
As for Khaw, she’s come to realize there was indeed someone who showed up to help her get Mawia back—it was YOU.
Many people like Khaw fall into poverty through no fault of their own and genuinely need assistance. One of the problems with orphanages is they only offer assistance on the condition children be separated from their parents. For greedy directors, this is their guarantee of a steady stream of foreign sponsorship dollars. If you were in Khaw’s place, would you prefer assistance that allowed your family to stay together or upon a condition of you giving up your children? I know what I’d prefer. Thank you for helping to reunite families!
Until all children are in safe and loving families,
Director, Orphan’s Tear Ministry
“Children Belong In Families”