U Kyar Hpu and his wife, Daw Nar Yi, live in Myanmar’s Northern Shan state. They do hillside farming and odd jobs to make a living.
Living with them is their eight-year-old son, Aung Zin Moe - a World Vision-registered child - 14-year-old daughter, Lay May, and 15-year-old niece, Na Ei Shal, whose parents sadly passed away.
Lay May contracted Tuberculosis (TB) when she was just three years old and needed to take TB medicine for a long time. She became malnourished and her brain development was affected. Lay May dropped out of school in Grade 2. Now she helps her parents farming and with the household chores.
Aung Zin Moe is a kindergarten student and Na Ei Shal studied until Grade 6.
“Our farming business didn’t do well before and nutritious meals were out of our reach. We had to struggle very hard to make ends meet. We couldn’t afford for agricultural inputs necessary for farming,” says U Kyar Hpu.
“We couldn’t support our children’s education and health. We had to rely on loans. Although we had rice seeds in hand, we couldn’t afford the cost of cultivation.
“Our family life was marked by a daily struggle for survival. There were sleepless nights. As we are old, it wasn’t possible for us to go to countries like Thailand and China to find a job like other people. We had to live with worries.”
In November 2019, World Vision Myanmar held a meeting with village leaders in their community to assist the most vulnerable families with food.
They learned about the struggles of U Kyar Hpu’s family, selecting them for our Ultra-Poor Graduation (UPG) programme.
Ultra-Poor Graduation (UPG) aims to improve the lives of 1,138 of the most vulnerable families.
“In May 2020, we were selected along with other most vulnerable families for the UPG programme and received food assistance. As monthly food assistance, we received 38.6 kilogrammes of rice, 70 chicken eggs, 3.4 kilogrammes of beans and five litres of cooking oil from World Vision for a six-month period,” says U Kyar Hpu.
“With the money we earned from doing odd jobs, we were able to restart hillside farming and clear the farmland for cultivation. As we had sufficient food for six months provided by World Vision, we could buy some rice seeds and sticky rice seeds with the money we earned from odd jobs.
"We were very happy to see our paddy field growing successful in front of us.”
“We also participated in a World Vision’s Savings for Transformation Group (S4T) and could save 360,000 Myanmar Kyat (US$225).
“With that money, we could breed five local pigs. We were also able to pay off our debt.”
“In September 2021, we received additional sack of rice and three litres of cooking oil as part of World Vision Myanmar’s emergency response. Currently, we do not need to worry about our daily food supply, because we received enough food in the previous months,” he says.
“Every day, we really enjoy looking at the green paddy on the hill as well as enjoy eating fresh vegetables from our farm,” says Daw Nar Yi.
U Kyar Hpu adds, “Soon after the harvest, we will have enough food for the next year for our family. We pray for World Vision and their donors every time we have our meal, as well as during family prayer time at night. Our family will always remember them in our prayers.”