BY EMMA STONEHOUSE
Myanmar continues to be afflicted by long-standing conflict, with Unicef estimating that 460,000 children require humanitarian assistance due to war and natural disasters.
However, in the midst of such a disheartening statistic, there is abounding hope.
Children can often be a forgotten party in times of war, as many find themselves far away from home and unable to return.
Amidst the backdrop of continuing conflict, our partner network in Myanmar Children Family Development Network is giving displaced children a home with a view to seeing them one day reunited with their families.
The network connects 27 children’s homes in and around the capital city of Yangon, giving the children a loving community in a city which would otherwise be unknown.
From these homes the children attend government schools and many receive extra tuition in the evenings, and are able learn skills such as mechanics and agriculture.
They are given a place to call home, start life again, and work through the experiences which they have faced through and as a result of the conflict.
Above all, this community has a heart for seeing these children returned to their families who live away from Yangon.
There continue to be challenges preventing children from returning to their birth homes. In some locations the war continues, making it unsafe for some to return.
Many of the families that they are returning to are struggling financially, which makes it difficult for them to support their children when they return; and puts the children at increased risk of abuses such as trafficking.
Furthermore the standard of education in many communities remains low, with many children at risk of missing out on opportunities that they are receiving in Yangon.
Despite these challenges, there are so many reasons to be joyful, and in many areas it is safe enough for children to return back to their communities.
Through the network’s ongoing activities, 22 children have regained contact with families or communities and are beginning to rebuild their relationship, and eight young people have been supported to return to their communities.
The network ensures the children are supported through the reconnection process, with the physical reintegration of the children being necessarily slow and considered. In the meantime, it locates and reconnects children, and enables visits. This has ensured many of the returning children are able to offer invaluable services to their communities.
Hayma is one such example. She completed her education at a network member children’s home, and the network has supported her to return to her village. She now serves as a headteacher in the local school, and is helping to improve the education of many children in the village.
The network has so much hope for these children, and for their country. Please join in prayer for the conflict in Myanmar, and the work our partner network is doing.
- Please pray for peace in Myanmar, pray for the individuals in government and communities who are working for a peaceful outcome to the conflict. We thank you Lord that you are a God of the impossible and we pray that you would make the impossible, possible over Myanmar.
- Lord, we thank you for the work of our partner network in Myanmar, and we pray for the children who are displaced and in children’s homes. We pray blessing over their lives, and for strength and peace in the uncertainty.
- Lord, we also pray for blessing over the leaders in the children’s homes, that you would strengthen them and equip them in all that they are doing over the coming weeks. May you encourage them and bring them peace.