Yangon’s Perceived Needs
t the outset of our ministry, one of the most visible needs
was the many orphans who were brought to us from rural
villages. At the time, the most obvious solution was to set up
orphanages in the city to gather these children and give them
However, over time, we quickly realised that whilst some of the
children in our care had been orphaned and left to devastating
circumstances—civil wars, sex traffi cking, and drug abuse—
there were many children whose families were still living in
rural villages. We found out that it was a common practice in
Myanmar for many children, some as young as four years old, to
be sent from their villages into the city to receive an education.
Some of the well-meaning people who had brought them to us
had lied about the children’s background, in the hope that we
would take them in.
This troubled us greatly. Although these children could fi nd a
‘home’ in orphanages and receive food, education and shelter,
they would have to grow up without the God-ordained bond and
protection of their parents. As a result, many children grow
up with emotional defi ciencies and long-term damage to their
We listened to God’s heart and realised that we had only been
‘treating the symptoms’ of the problems but not addressing
the root issues. By running our city orphanages, and keeping
children apart from their parents, we were inadvertently
contributing to the heart of the brokenness in this city!
Convicted by God, we decided to release the children back
to their families in 2006. But we continued to look after the
orphans and the children with volatile and unsafe domestic
situations in their families.
Yangon’s Real Needs
While we worked on making these changes in our orphanages,
God connected us with a YWAM couple from Norway who
were starting pre-primary and primary schools in remote,
rural regions. These rural schools would allow the children to
receive an education without being apart from their families!
The couple had been working elsewhere for a few years but
their ministry ended up re-joining YWAM in 2010. We partook
in their work wholeheartedly, humbled that God had provided
such a neat solution to one of the city’s problems.
Following that, in 2011, God led YWAM Yangon to move to a
new location. Initially, we did not understand why He led us
here. But we soon realised that we were surrounded by growing
slums, which were fi lled with huge numbers of the urban poor.
God began speaking to different members of YWAM Yangon.
The King’s Kids team started visiting slums and gathered large
crowds of children, teaching them songs, telling them stories
and simply refl ecting God’s love to them. After running weekly
Sunday school type programmes for a few years, we pioneered
a pre-school in June 2016 in one of the slums. In a shaky,
simple bamboo hut, 15 to 18 desperately poor children attend
the school. Through teachers who love and value them, these
children are learning that they have been created in God’s
image and are growing into their God-given capacities.
As we slowly got to know the slum communities, we also
felt God nudging us towards presenting the Gospel in more
practical ways. Due to their meagre diet, most slum children
are malnourished and protein-defi cient. When we prayed
and explored how to help them, we came across ‘Soy Goat’
machines that produce nutritious, protein-rich soymilk. We
started distributing this milk in 2016. This has created many
opportunities to infl uence and disciple nearly 1500 children
and their families. Many have responded positively to the call of
their Heavenly Father!
Yangon Moving Forward
In order for God to bring holistic transformation to the city,
He is leading us to help the people break out of disempowering
life patterns. We are learning that rather than giving the poor
handouts and only meeting their immediate needs, it is more
effective to provide them with jobs so that they can regain a
sense of ownership and dignity over their lives. At the moment,
w e are building a workshop to produce cost-effi cient cooking
stoves, and intend to hire slum dwellers to run this small
business. Our hope is that they will be able to support their
families, discover their God-given talents, and have their lives
permanently changed for the better.
Pray with us, that as we remain faithful to helping individuals
and their families, we will see God’s welfare eventually
transform the communities and the nation.