I’ve always wondered where the children who live in orphanages come from, so with great anticipation we hopped on our motorbikes and headed off to Ngai Zam Village in Chin State, a typical source village that sends its children to faraway orphanages due to poverty.
I began regretting my decision as we rode two hours through the pouring rain along washed-out, narrow roads (better to call them trails) cut into the face of the steep, jungled mountainsides of Chin State. I felt relieved when we arrived safely! (After we met the people, my husband, Jody, joked with our hosts that the way to their village was even narrower than the road to heaven!)
Not long ago the villagers had just been discussing the idea of sending their children to orphanages so they could receive a free education, and one family had already sent their daughter to Yangon, about 600 miles of difficult travel away. They had little hope of seeing her for several years, and after living in the country’s largest city she may not have wanted to live again in tiny, remote Ngai Zam Village.
Although there was a school in a nearby town, none could afford the tuition costs. Agriculture is very difficult on the steep mountainsides, and subsistence poverty is the only way of life they’ve ever known—until now.
Here’s the good news: Just a few months ago, Orphan’s Tear made a $2,500 loan to Ngai Zam village, most of which was used by each family to buy seeds and tools to expand their agricultural practices. Rather than just subsistence farming, they now are growing crops that they can sell in the market.
Their newfound prosperity is evident: The daughter sent to an orphanage in Yangon is now back home with her family, and attending the nearby school!
From Chin State,