Myanmar has many “street children.” Some estimate that 15% of the children in Myanmar are homeless. Often they are forced by their parents to beg on the streets, work long hours in businesses or join the military. Some run away to the jungles to look for work in the gold mines and often die there of malaria. They do adult labor, work extremely long hours, earn little salary, and often become sick and malnourished. The children learn inappropriate language and morals, and their life becomes a nightmare, without the promise of a better future.
Many children, both on and off the street, are orphans. Malaria and tuberculosis are the two main causes of death in Myanmar. Sometimes parents give up their children voluntarily to orphanages or Buddhist monasteries because they cannot afford to take care of them, and they realize that someone else could give their children the hope and future they cannot.