In 2009 and 2012, BMIMC made donations to support an orphanage in Burma called Thamaingdaw Dah Tha Nunnery. For some ten years now, Thamaingdaw has provided dozens of children in Burma with a home, food and the ability to attend school. This care is made possible through the generous donations of people from around the world, including Australia.
Thamaingdaw is located in the city of Ta Nyin, around one and half hour’s drive south of Yangon, Burma. Thamaingdaw is run by two Buddhist nuns and they look after a number of girls from the age of five to high school age. These children are either orphans or their parents can no longer afford to care for them and have given them up. The nuns generally have at least seven children and up to more than 20 in their care. The numbers fluctuate from year to year. Currently they are caring for around 20 girls.
Whilst the girls are in the care of the nuns they usually wear the nuns’ robes except for their senior years of high school when they wear the school uniform, though they are not expected to become nuns for life. In the aftermath of the Cyclone Nargis crisis, the non-government organisation, Save the Children, placed a number of children temporarily in the care of Thamaingdaw.
They all live in a very basic timber building with a corrugated iron roof, consisting of one small multi-purpose room with an adjoining kitchen and one smaller room in which the two nuns sleep. The children sleep in the multi-purpose room which serves as their living and dining area and study and prayer room.
At the start of last year the building was connected to electricity, and they have access to running water through an artesian well on their land. As is common in Burma, the nuns and children rely on alms offered by the local people to the nuns for essentials such as rice, oil and coal. They also grow their own vegetables. Thamaingdaw also relies on donations for general expenses like school books, pens and pencils, shoes and reading glasses for the children
Theresa Baw (a committee member) and her mother and family have been supporting Thamaingdaw for a number of years. They took photographs on their visits in 2009 and 2012. In 2012, generous donations helped to pay for the building of a cement water tank for showering; an electrical pump for the artesian well to replace a manual pump; soil fill to prop up the building as there was slippage (due to the land formerly being a rice paddy field); enrolment fees for the local state school; umbrellas for the children to travel to school during the monsoon season; and food. This was made possible through the generosity of Theresa’s family and friends, including BMIMC and committee members.
BMIMC’s latest donation will contribute to the goal for 2013, which is to raise enough funds to convert the front verandah into a bedroom to accommodate five people, overcoming the cramped conditions where there are now more than twenty people living in the small building, and to build a small alternate verandah at the front for the placing of shoes. Plans also include expanding the kitchen and adding another two toilets to the existing block. Funds are also needed to buy rice, oil and coal which are essential staples for their daily cooking and to pay for nuns robes for the children. To this goal, BMIMC expects to contribute again this year. If you would like to know more or offer a donation,please email the centre who will contact Theresa.