Fierce faith

See the picture of Mary praying? Her faith is huge. It’s fierce!

Mary lives in a village orphanage, with 40 other children, in a rural area of Burma. Every child there has a story. What does it take to really give hope? How do we empower a child? Make an impact for life?

Whenever I visit, I make a point of setting aside time to play – of spending time as children should – playing on the swings, skipping, riding around the soccer field on a bike…try that wearing a traditional Burmese longi!

Having fun, laughing. Far away from the horrors that brought them to this place of safety, and the fears that still visit them in their nightmares.

Mary had a beaming, infectious smile and soaked up every ounce of affection I gave her. I was heart-broken to learn that she had been assaulted like no young child should ever be violated. And yet she had a strength and demeanour beyond her years, from which it was evident that she was now in a home where there was an abundance of love and nurturing. Mary was learning how to trust and to share, and most of all, to forgive. I believe that this is the foundation that we need to provide these young girls who have suffered needlessly in whatever circumstance. To really come out of poverty, pain and loss we need to start by showing them love. This is the start of a healthy mind and spirit that will lead to a healthy life of learning and growing into a productive woman in her community.

Mary praying: she loves God so much and knows that there is hope because this is what she is taught by her caregivers. This is what she experiences every day. Her radiant face relays a thousand words! Mary is an outstanding young girl who has taught me much about my own life.

What does love look like?

It looks like this. A child, in pain, dying.

what does love look like?

When I look at this picture my heart is ripped out. I am anguished by his suffering. I ask myself, how can I ease his pain?

Young boys work in grown-up jobs all over the world. In dangerous jobs. In this case, a young, orphaned boy tumbled out of a truck overloaded with rocks that he had been helping to distribute. He was earning a mere dollar a day, which translates to about 850 kyat in Burma. A pittance, but what were his options?

After his accident, the already emaciated Soe Min became seriously ill. With no-one prepared to take him in, he somehow found his way to our orphanage. The hospital could do nothing more for him, but at the orphanage he found care. For a short time, he had a loving, nurturing home. He died in dignity a few weeks later, surrounded by caregivers who cherished him until the end.

That’s what love looks like.

Full Moon

Full Moon is the name of an orphanage in Myanmar, where more than 200 children live. The youngest are toddlers, around 3-years old, finding their way to the orphanage with hardly a memory of the place they have come from. The oldest are young adults in their early twenties, who have grown up in Full Moon and who are about to embark on a new phase of their lives.

Full Moon Orphanage For several years I have watched the orphans of Full Moon grow and flourish. Their lives have changed in amazing ways under the care and guidance of Joe, NiSat and the team of caregivers. Together we’ve worked to develop the children’s well-being, their education and the environment in which they live.

Here are just a few of the beautiful girls that live at Full Moon. This particular day they escorted me around the grounds, took me to the fish pond and over to their dorms. I love so much spending this special time with the girls – and it’s reciprocated! They adorned me with jewellery flowers in my hair and thanaka on my face. Used for hundreds of years by Burmese women and children, the lightly fragrant thanaka cream is drawn on cheeks and noses to highlight beauty and for general well-being. It is a wonderful gift to receive – full moons on my cheeks and in my heart.