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Brothers work as farmers to support orphans

Would rather they spend their time looking after the young residents

Brothers working in the rice fields in Mayachaung village Brothers working in the rice fields in Mayachaung village
  • ucanews.com reporter, Pathein
  • Myanmar
  • February 1, 2011
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Brothers from the Little Brothers of St. Francis Xavier congregation in Pathein diocese in southern Myanmar are resorting to become farmers to find extra funds to support children at the orphanage they run.

A group of brothers run St. Bruno’s Orphanage House in Mayachaung village near Pathein to give some 50 orphans a home.

“We have some rice fields but the only challenge is insufficient funds,” said Brother Anthony, 60, who is currently managing about eight-hectares of rice fields in Kanazogone village of Pathein diocese. He said he has to borrow other people’s tractors to do the farming and “when we’re short of money, we have to borrow from people that charge high interests.” The loans are paid back with money or sometimes with the rice harvests, Brother Anthony explained.

Brother Alexis, 50, said he also encounters financial problems managing the orphanage’s “hand to mouth” situation.

He said 70 percent of the orphanage’s expenses are covered by the farm’s produce including seasonal fruits, livestock, rice and betel leaves cultivation. The other 30 percent comes from local donations.

“Our financial difficulty is not only in running the farms but in hiring teachers to educate the orphans,” said Brother Alexis.

Brother Blaise said the Brothers spend most of their time farming and growing seasonal fruit just to keep the orphanage open. They would rather spend their time looking after, caring and teaching the young residents.

Thirteen-year-old Justin Paing Phyo said his father died when his sister was only five years old. Six months later his mother died and both of them had to live with their uncle.

After five months, his uncle couldn’t afford to keep them and sent them to the Brothers’ orphanage.

“I feel very hungry during school break but had to wait until evening when we have dinner,” said Paing Phyo.

Paing Phyo currently in sixth grade said things are better for the past four years since he has been living at the orphanage.

“We need not to worry for our living in the orphanage with the great care of the brothers,” said Bosco Win Naing, a teenage resident at the orphanage. “My intention is to become a Brother and work for the orphanage,” he said.
The eight grader said he doesn’t even how he ended up at the orphanage but was told that a nun brought him there when he was only one month old.

The congregation’s late Brother Bruno established the orphanage in 1995 with just four orphans.

The congregation founded in 1942 currently has about 100 brothers serving in the 10 dioceses in Myanmar.

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Church Helps Cyclone Children And Orphans Deal With Their Grief

MY13071.1639
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