Autumn 2021

Where my heart remains…

Following the military coup in Myanmar on February 1st 2021 life in Chin State has been turned upside down and many people have had to flee their homes. It is so hard to leave loved ones behind and it is not easy to help them from afar. As a village girl I faced many challenges growing up. There was no proper school and no proper roads. Our parents had to labour from day break to sunset every day to provide food, shelter and support for their children. When I was older and I moved to live in a city there were such huge differences that I found it hard to cope at first. It took me a long time to adjust to my new life and I sometimes missed my family and my village even though there was nothing for me there. No education, no health, no opportunities for the children. My only concern and desire now is to be able to help other village girls and boys and to be able to help all Mara women and their families.

The story of Ecclesias…

Ecclesias (top right and bottom centre in photo gallery below) was 9 years old when I brought her to Yangon city so that she could go to school. When the teacher asked her name she could say it well but when she asked more questions she started to cry because she could not understand. I was worried every day for her and asked everyone to encourage and support her. She slowly adapted to city life and after just 3 months she became a happy and cute girl! She made friends at school and took part in the local community programmes for children. She enjoyed singing, dancing, reading and learning all things new. I was so proud of her and so excited to see her progress. She passed her grade 4 and was about to start her grade 5 when, because of the Covid crisis, all the schools were closed. Instead she did self-study at home and she used to read her lessons to me every day. She watched cartoon videos to relax and she planned to write a children’s story in her own Mara language but then the military coup took place and there was nothing she could do to achieve all her dreams. The only option was to travel back her to her village but there the schools were also closed and she had no access to self-study or learning. Her life is on hold as she waits to start studying again but it is still her dream to one day be a teacher and to write story books for children!

The story of Melawri…

Melawri (top second from right in gallery) has 2 brothers and 2 sisters. She is the third child of her parents who are both illiterate. None of her older siblings passed their grade 10 and now 2 of them have had to go to Malaysia to find work. Melawri studied in her village until grade 7 but the quality of her education was poor with not enough facilities and resources. To go on to grade 8 she would need to go to another village so instead she went to my parents to ask if I would support her study in Yangon. In return she would do cooking, cleaning and washing for me. When I heard about her zeal to work hard and learn I was very moved and I said I was happy to support her and have her stay with me. She was also very happy and she came to Yangon but due to Covid all the schools then closed for a year. When they were about to re-open the coup took place and completely destroyed all her dreams and hopes for the future. The only option was for her to go back home like the others. It broke my heart to see those children’s faces when they had to forget their plans and leave me to go home.

The story of Khaizahmo…

Khaizahmo touched my heart when he first called me through my mother’s phone telling me that he really wants to study but that he can’t because his family can’t afford to support his studies. He is a wonderful boy, very obedient, spiritual and willing to do anything. He has 3 older siblings and 5 younger ones. His father passed away when he was just 13 years old leaving his mother, Mrs Taso, and his unmarried aunt, Ms Hidi (his father’s sister) to raise the children. Khaizahmo was sent to live for 2 years in an orphanage in Hakha Town but his life there was tough and he was treated so harshly that he came back home. It was then that he asked me for help saying “sister if you can please support me for my study I will do anything to repay you when I grow up”. I told him that I would support him and be there for him which I have done since 2019 through his grade 8 and 9 years in Lailenpi Town. Unfortunately, like the other children, his grade 9 has been stopped by Covid and the coup and he is now just helping on the farm in his village. It was really heart breaking for me not to be able to continue to support his studies when he was so close to finishing high school. I wish I could support all these children and see them grow up successfully but I am worried that their ages are increasing and if they do not have further educational opportunities they might lose all their hopes and dreams for the future.

Mrs Taso and family (left top and bottom in photo gallery) …

A few months after confirming the name of this charity as the ‘Waymaker Trust’, I prayed to God and asked what I could do to serve him and make life easier for his people in need of help. In return God opened my mind and my heart to see what was really important for me to do and at the same time he provided money from my friends so that this work could begin. I saw that Khaizahmo’s mother, Mrs Taso, had many challenges raising her children by herself whilst also working on the farm so I asked her one day what I could do to support her and make her life easier. When she replied that raising pigs would be a good livelihood and would improve her income I was happy to buy 2 pigs for her. Just before Christmas Day in 2020 my mother phoned me to tell me that the village children were buying new clothes for Christmas. When I said how nice and exciting that was my Mom said that it wasn’t possible for everyone. Mrs Taso had spoken to her because she had no idea how she could afford to buy new clothes for her children and she wanted to sell all her firewood to get money. My Mom gave her whatever she could and we prayed and thought about them a lot in our hearts but this year for Christmas 2021 we hope that they will be able to sell some of their pigs to get the food and clothes they need. I am praying to God that he will provide for them so they no longer have to struggle.

Mrs Sisino and family (middle left and right in gallery)…

Mrs Sisino is a lovely woman from another village called Mala who came to marry a man in my village. She has 2 daughters and also looks after her husband’s Aunty who is old and physically disabled. She was very young when she married and came to live in our village. It is our tradition that she has to adopt new ‘parents’ in our village who are from her same clan or have her family name (like Zawtha for me). My older sister’s husband was the only person in our village who belonged to her family line (Khaimichho), so they became her ‘parents’. She is from a very humble and poor family background and I could see that for her and her husband it is a lot of work for them to run their farm, raise their children and look after his Aunty especially at such a young age. I felt so pity on her and was concerned about her.

They live in this small house and work hard all day. Although many people in the village are in the same kind of situation I felt I must ask Sisino if there was anything I could do to help her and her family. She had no ideas about how they could improve their life so I suggested perhaps raising chickens or pigs or what ever might be best for them. They decided chickens would be good because their Aunty could also feed and look after them so I bought them about 50 chicks to raise. The eggs and meat would give them some extra income but after a few months chicken flu came into the village and the chicks all died. When I met them in March 2021 they were scared that I would be angry with them but I told them it was not their fault and not to worry because we would try again. They are now raising some more chicks and we are praying that our Way Maker Lord will open up other ways to get us all through these life difficulties and challenges.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING OUR STORIES AND HELPING OUR LIFE JOURNEY!