St. Mary Orphanage
St. Mary Orphanage for Girls is located in the center of Pathein, just five minutes away from the Pathein Diocese’s Cathedral and the Mother House of the Francis Xavier Sisters (SFX). All schools are in close proximity to each other and to the General Hospital of Pathein.
St. Mary Orphanage was established in 1988. The land and an old colonial house that was built around 1920, were donated to the SFX sisters by an Anglo-Burmese family in 1988 as they left Burma. The donation was conditioned on the house being used as an orphanage for girls. Currently four sisters plus kitchen staff and some caretakers care for 93 orphan girls. They are helped by the older girls; some of them have finished their formal education as nursery or primary school teachers and nurse aids. The sisters live with the orphans and act as mothers, organizing and overseeing the girls’ education from nursery school to university.
In 2010, PIN and a Munich foundation built and financed a new house at the St. Mary Orphanage for Girls at Pathein. After the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis in 2008, the orphanage became way too small to accommodate the additional victims of the natural disaster: the number of orphan girls housed in the orphanage more than doubled, growing from 42 to 93. With the additional building the living situation for the 40 older girls has improved significantly.
However the old colonial building housing the 50 younger girls now requires urgent attention. The two-story colonial house, built nearly 100 years ago, measures about 50 by 80 feet (15 by 24 meters) and has deteriorated significantly due to poor maintenance and lack of money. The house is in poor condition and shows some structural deficiencies: some of the old wooden beams have rotted or have been partially eaten by white ants. The in-house toilets are broken, the wooden floorboards of the upper floor are wobbly and insecure, and the roof is leaking. In short, the house needs urgently needs refurbishment and renovation to be save for habitation.
In addition, the overhead water tank for the compound has to be replaced by a new 3,500-gallon water tank. The old water tank, which had already been damaged by Cyclone Nargis in 2008, developed serious leakage after a 2012 earth quake. Currently, the 150 persons living in the total compound rely on the water collected during the rainy season plus from a timeworn well. Both, the water tank and the well do not provide enough fresh water during the long dry season.
People In Need introduced an international donor to the Sisters who will take the lion’s share of the refurbishment cost of the colonial building and fund a new water tank. As of, the renovation of the colonial house got underway in June 2014.