Orphanages struggle to survive amid rising commodity prices

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Mawlamyine, March (7)

In more than two years after the military coup in the country, the extremely high price of goods has made it difficult for the orphanages to remain open, probably leading to their closure, a monk who supervise the orphanages told Than Lwin Times.

Because of the nearly threefold increase in commodity prices following the military coup and the economic crisis, orphanages have struggled to stay afloat with fewer donors.

Due to food shortages, cash strapped orphanages are unable to accept new orphans and struggle to feed existing children on a daily basis.

The orphans are receiving less food as donations dry up, but the monks are striving to keep the orphanages open.

A monk said, “Children can no longer be fed good-quality rice. The price of one bag of rice has increased from 80,000 to 130,000, so we can only feed them rice worth 50,000–60,000 per bag”.

Furthermore, because of the country’s economic crisis, there are fewer donors, forcing the orphanage to sell its monastery-owned cars in order to feed the children. In the long run, the situation may get worse.

The monk added that adult children are fed vegetables since they are unable to consistently feed meat curry and that newborn babies are only given gruel or chickpea curry instead of powdered milk.

It is said that orphanages are mainly concerned with the livelihood of the children, so they cannot emphasize the children’s education and health care as before.

Meanwhile, if prices of rice and other commodities remain high over the long run, the children at the monastic orphanages may experience malnutrition and famine.

According to documents gathered by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), during the military coup, poor people in eight townships in Yangon Region had no income for the previous year and were forced to eat less.

After the coup , the departure of foreign investment, rising unemployment, and skyrocketing fuel and basic food prices worsened the socioeconomic situation of households.

News-Than Lwin Times

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