The Chin State Orphanage Mission Fund has been established to fund a religious mission to improve the lives of children who live in orphanages in the Chin State of Burma, also known as Myanmar, in Southeastern Asia. The fund has been established by concerned local citizens in order for donors in and around Morgan County, Indiana to improve the lives and safety of the children living in these orphanages.
- FOOD - The greatest need is food, as the children are malnourished, and well below poverty levels.
- RESTROOMS - The outside bathrooms are unusable, and need to be rebuilt, preferably attached to the orphanage, with separate rooms to accomodate both girls and boys.
- A NEW ROOF - The roof needs to be rebuilt, as there are holes throughout the existing roof. During the monsoon season the orphanage and, subsequently, the children remain wet for extended periods of time. After the roof has been completed funds would be used to purchase a hooded, motorized tricycle that would transport the children to school, allowing them to stay out of the elements.
- ADDITIONAL LAND & BUILDING - There are two acres of unused land behind the orphanage with green vegetation and a building. If this land can be purchased boys and girls can have separate living quarters, with more land for raising livestock for meat, dairy, and other animal byproducts. Coal pots will be provided to allow the children to stay warm.
On Dec 14th, 2012, the Chin National Front (CNF), the official self-determination group of the Chin people, bargained with the government to allow a missionary, Tom Whitley, into the closed state of Chin. Consequently, the government granted access to Chin State's first foreign visitor since the military takeover in the early 60s. Mr. Whitley documented the orphans living in the Pinelle Children's Home (PCH) in Thantlang, a town of approximately 7,000 residents, 5,000 of which are Christian, in the northern part of the state.
The orphanage is comprised of twenty-seven children, seventeen girls and ten boys, ranging from one year old to fifteen years old. There are other orphans in the area that cannot get into this orphanage, as it is full, and the township struggles to keep up with current bills. There are about ten beds total, with each bed holding approximately two children. The beds are in need of mosquito netting to protect the children from mosquitos, and subsequently malaria and other insect borne diseases.
Up to the point, PCH has had no monetary outside assistantce. PCH is governed by the Thantlang Baptist Church (TABC), which supports the orphanage, having built the building many years ago. However, the TABC is only able to provide about a third of the operating costs to feed and clothe the children. The other two thirds of the finances are left up to the children. They, typically, walk from town-to-town singing to raise money in order to ensure two meals a day and meat once every month.
A typical day for the children who live in this orphanage begins by awaking in a thin-walled facility without energy for heating in this chilly mountainous area. They are without indoor plumbing or a working outdoors bathroom, so baths are taken in a horse trough in the field, before consuming cold plain rice from the night before. The children walk to school barefoot, as they do not own shoes or clothes that properly clothe them. The town children go home for lunch, the orphans, however, stay at the school without food. Upon returning to the orphanage in the evening a cook will come to fix rice with vegetables grown by the children in their garden. They then do homework before the sun's light fades, making the task impossible. After sunset, the children huddle under their blankets, receiting the evening prays before going to sleep. Unfortunately, the town cannot afford to support a full-time caregiver, so the children care for themselves overnight. A kindly neighbor periodically stops by throughout the night to check on the children, but the majority of their time is spent alone.
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From 1962 to 2011, Burma was ruled by a military junta that suppressed nearly all dissent with absolute power, despite international condemnation and sanctions. During this time, consistent and systematic human rights violations have been reported in the country, including genocide, the use of child soldiers, systematic rape, child labor, slavery, human trafficking, and a lack of freedom of speech. In 2010, the military began relinquishing some of its control over the government, holding elections, and in 2011 releasing Burma's most prominent human rights activist, Aung San Suu Kyi.
Chin State is a closed state located in western Burma. The state is bordering Bangladesh in the south-west and India in the north-west. The state is a mountainous region with few transportation links, though the government has been building miles of new roads in recent years. Chin State is sparsely populated and remains one of the least developed areas of the country. According to official statistics, Chin State had only twenty-five high schools in 2003.
American missionaries began arriving in the 1890s and by the middle of Twentieth Century most of the Chin people had converted to Christianity. Today, Chin State is home to the majority of the Christian minority in Burma, with 98% of the population being Christian within the state. A remaining minority practice Theravada Buddhism and Animism, the religious worldview that animals, plants, etc. possess a spiritual essence. Due to the government's religious persecution many of the Chin began fleeing to refugee camps in surrounding countries where they were later brought to the United States. This is how their plight became known to the world.
For more information please contact Mr. Thomas M. Whitley,(317) 489-8998.