In Myanmar, the planting of a new church and the establishment of a children’s home often go hand in hand. To fill these children’s homes, orphanage directors visit remote communities to recruit children who many times are relinquished by their parents due to poverty or the promise of better education. In the worst cases, children are trafficked into institutions to illicit funds from well-meaning donors.

In response, ACCI Relief’s Kinnected Myanmar project works alongside orphanage directors and key donors to help them see that God designed for children to be raised in families and that the church can play a significant role in supporting families through hardship so that children can remain within their family unit. The project has hired and trained a technical social work unit of qualified and experienced social workers that facilitates the safe reintegration of children into their families.

The project currently works with 10 orphanage directors and 204 children. Since the project started in 2015, 4 residential care institutions have now closed and 16 children have been reintegrated into their families under full process, while 105 cases are currently in process.

Hani (12) and Thari (10) are two sisters who at a young age were taken into care by one of the homes in the Kinnected Myanmar project. When social workers first visited the home they found the 80 children were severely malnourished and neglected. Family tracing and assessment processes helped identify a number of Hani and Thari’s family members, including an older brother. While all three siblings had entered the home together, Hani and Thari’s brother had been sent to work in a tea shop owned by the orphanage director’s niece. Here he was banned from any contact with his family.

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Social workers negotiated his release and reunited him with his sisters, and through family assessments determined that the best place for Hani, Thari and their brother was to live with their uncle and aunt. With support through the Kinnected Myanmar project the children were reunified with their aunt and uncle in 2017. Social workers continue to monitor the children to ensure they are safe, well looked after, attending school and happy.