It was with great excitement that we made our first steps into Burma, a lifelong dream for me to visit this country after so many years of turbulence and deciding whether it was right to visit. With the borders opening up and a semblance of democracy it felt the right time to go. We also had great help from friends who are teaching there and were able to hook us up with contacts of orphanages and a local friend to go with us and translate.
A lot of he orphanages listed in google are not really that, people drop off their children whilst they work for months and maybe see them once a year.
The ones we manage to visit were really there for the kids who have been displaced, on the streets and no families. All the ones we visited were Buddhist orphanages for novice monks and nuns. They have little to no funding, no volunteers and rely mostly on the generosity of the local people who make merit by donations of food etc.
The first boys orphanage in Mandalay MBOA were lucky enough to receive a donation of bunk beds and mosquito nets for their dorms.
We dropped in on our organized visit to find out no one really knew what knew we’re doing there!
But it never matters after a broken translation with one of the boys we managed to get them on to the football field and they had a great time trying out all the equipment none of them had seen before.
Our next stop was to the girls of Aye Yeik Mon, again a local underfunded haven of safety for girls who would be otherwise on the streets. A really lovely afternoon with friends coming and joining in for the first time and really getting quite overwhelmed by the intensity of the workshop and the hugs from the girls when we were leaving.
To say thank you to our friends for helping we visited the Horizon school next, that has a summer school program for underprivileged children to come and learn English. They foregoed their studies for our workshop and had a fantastic time learning something new.
Our last stop was down by Inle Lake and the tiny village of Nuang Shwe. The boys of Sasana Yuangchi had no idea we were coming and we dragged them from their weekend allowance of cartoons on the Saturday morning, all dressed in their monk robes into the hall. The look on their faces was a picture, they were so excited but also so brilliant at everything, all of them managed to pick up everything and perform a great show.
What an amazing end to our short but very sweet tour of Burma. We shall definitely be going back as long as we keep getting the very much needed funding that enables us to reach these very off the beaten track places and really give the kids something lasting that they will always remember


About the Author:

Jenny, Founder of Balloon Circus trained as an actor and fell in love with circus performance and street art from meeting other performers who sparked an interest in alternative entertainment, which is loved by adults and children alike. After 20 years working with children and much performance experience as a entertainer specializing in fire shows, stilt walking, human statues and walkabout she found a niche in balloon modelling.