A family reunited

StarKids has helped improve life for Myanmar’s most vulnerable children.

Htet was one of up to 30,000 children living on the streets of Mandalay. But through a StarKids-supported project, World Vision helped his family reunite and build a better life.

Htet’s father died when he was one. His mother remarried, but his relationship with his stepfather was badly damaged. “We were not happy at home,” he says. Aged 15, he ran away.

Life on the streets was just as tough – not to mention dangerous. “The older street kids bullied me … I slept on the pavement at the railway station. Sometimes, beside the garbage.”

Fortunately, the project’s outreach workers soon found Htet and brought him to a shelter offering healthcare, informal education, and life skills and vocational training. After three months, his confidence and stability had greatly improved.

Child protection staff also educated Htet’s family about respect and understanding. Htet’s stepfather promised to change his behaviour. “I noticed that my children didn’t respect me if I drank alcohol. So, I stopped it and tried to be like their real father,” he says.

Now reunited, the family is regaining the happiness lost to them for over a decade. “I forgive my stepfather. Life with my mum is better than life on the street,” says Htet.

Htet is among hundreds of children assisted through World Vision’s life-changing Mandalay Street and Working Children Project, supported by donations Jetstar customers have made to StarKids. Running from 2013 to last year, the project built on strong partnerships with communities and government institutions. Now, they’re now better equipped to continue improving opportunities for their most vulnerable children.

[Image caption:] Happily together: Htet is now off the streets and back home with his family.