Heavenly Home was set up in 2006 by a Burmese couple who opened up their home to care for migrant children without parents in the Mae Sot area. Most of the 45 children who live here were orphaned or abandoned at a very young age, and several are former street children. The home also provides day care and meals for fourteen children with single parents who work long hours in nearby factories. For these parents, day care is an alternative to leaving their child at the orphanage full-time and gives them a way to keep their family together.
Aside from a couple of individual small donors, Heavenly Home has very little outside support. The directors use their own money to send children to Thai school, knowing that this will give them more opportunities for the future. The caregivers are young girls of 16 or 17 who volunteer their time to care for the children, receiving little but board and lodging in return. Although the home receives rice rations from the Mae Tao Clinic, there is often very little to supplement this.
Room to Grow is in the early stages of developing our relationship with Heavenly Home. We started weekly well-being sessions in April 2012, involving lots of games, songs and crafts. Alongside these sessions, at the start of the school year in May, we began regular deliveries of eggs and yellow beans, as well as a mushroom project. Both of these will add vital nutrients to the children’s diet – crucial given that over half the children are under five, at an age when good nutrition is vital for children’s physical and mental development.