Good Shepherd Nurseries for children in Myanmar

Nursery programmes meet a real need

The Challenges

We, the Good Shepherd Sisters live opposite of the Yangon General Hospital. Being close to the place, we observe that there are people who are living under the shade of the hospital day and night with their children of nursery age.  Also, while parents are working in the hospital, the children are left on their own in the hospital compound.  At the same time, we are also very much concerned about the children of the vendors around the hospital. The children run around while they parents are doing business.

Most of the families mentioned above are manual workers of/around the hospital with small income. Some families have no proper job, no regular income and no proper place to live. Most of the women go from house to house washing clothes for a small fee and living hand to mouth. It is very sad to see that the children are not going to school, have no regular meals, and no personal hygiene. Very often, we see these children becoming victims of the family problems and sexual abuses (broken families, domestic violence, child labour).

What did the Sisters do?

Upon seeing these children living in this dangerous, dirty and unhealthy situation, we are able to open Yangon Nursery for the children in our convent in October 2006 with the generous help of kind donors.

Some of the children who came to our Yangon Nursery are from Dala.  Dala is situated on the other side of Yangon River and can be accessed only by boat. All the manual workers of the hospital receive small quarters in Dala.  After the cyclone in 2008, most of our children from Dala are not able to come to Yangon because of the difficulty in crossing the river.  In response to the request of the parents, a Nursery was opened in Dala on the 1st of June 2008.

Who manages/administers the programme? 

The programme is managed by the Good Shepherd Sisters.  Sister Elizabeth Joseph is in Charge of the Yangon Nursery.  Sister Martina Cing Lam Lun is in Charge of the Dala Nursery.

Who is the major target group?

Children on the streets and poor children at the margins and the victims of abuse.

Who benefits and how do they benefit?

Our goal is to uplift the quality of the life of disadvantaged children and their parents by providing the children with education, nutrition, hygiene, moral and loving atmosphere.

Parents can work without worries for their daily living.  Children are happy playing together and expressing themselves, being accepted as they are. They have shelter for a day, enjoy their meal, receive their nutrition and have a warm and secure environment. They learn through games, explorations, and are able to improve their relationship with others.

How many people are assisted?

We have helped more than 700 children within these years. At present, we have 42 girls and 65 boys - 107 in total in our two nurseries.

Motivation and core values

Each child is taken as precious, regardless of their colour, religion, and family background. They are treated with dignity, Children's  Rights and due respect.  In our Nurseries, a loving, caring and safe atmosphere is created for each one where he/she is given opportunity to grow freely, to be healed and to be provided with their basic human needs.

What outcomes are achieved? 

The children in our Nursery

  • are able to study in a loving, safe and caring atmosphere

  • become healthier physically, psychologically, emotionally

  • know how to take care of themselves

  • have their basic human needs met: regular meals and nutrition, proper and clean clothing and place to learn and to play.

How does the project contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals

Goal  1  No Poverty

Goal  2   Zero Hunger

Goal 3    Good Health & Well-being

Goal 10  Reduced Inequalities

Challenges and difficulties

Most of the children suffer from domestic violence and being abused both by their family members and their neighbours. Most parents do not send their children regularly to our nursery due to their family problems and broken families, lack of interest in their children. The parents do not know how to handle their children and are not aware of the children’s rights.  As a result of their vulnerable situation and due to the lack of collaboration on the side of the parents, some children have a tendency to be problematic.

What would make the project more effective?

We have a limited budget, a few dedicated teachers with lots of children. If we can hire more teachers, we will be able to work more effectively to the world standard.  As we are networking with some other child care NGOs such as World Vision, Japan's Heart, St. Mary's Orphanage and Government's Child Care Centers, we are able to learn different methods/techniques in helping children in crisis more effectively.

Click here to see more photos of the Nurseries - Good Shepherd Nurseries in Myanmar