“Please pray for the safety of the children, and for us to get real democracy, so they can have a better future.”
This is the plea of our partner, Sam, in Yangon, in the aftermath of the military coup which is threatening to push Myanmar back into civil war.
The team at Grace Children’s Home sent all but six of the children back to Chinn State in the early days of the coup, as Yangon grew increasingly dangerous. Thronged with protestors, the military were shooting on the streets.
However, fighting has now broken out in several ethnic states, including an area through which the children must travel to return.
Sam says the atmosphere is one of fear and despair: “It’s very difficult for us, especially the minorities and the Christians, we had to be very scared. We were just getting back on our feet after Covid, and now this.”
The country’s first open elections were held in 2015, resulting in a landslide victory for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. The coup on 1st February 2021 happened as the new parliament was due to sit, following a second election victory for the NLD in December 2020.
Sam says: “In the last five years we have had a real democracy. If we don’t have it, there is no point the children coming to Yangon for education – I don’t want them to have the kind of education I had. That’s what I am afraid of.”
Our partnership with Grace Children’s Home was due to end in December 2020, as two new initiatives improved self-sufficiency – a shop in Yangon and a tourist venture in Chinn State.
Because of Covid, these initiatives were delayed, and we’ve extended our support for a further six months. The shop reopened in May 2021, but the coup means the tourist venture may be mothballed for some time.