From where and how do the poor children get to St.Mary’s Home ?

The Servite Sisters in Myanmar are working in (36) convents, spread across the country. The poor or the less-fortunate girls contact the nearest Servite Sisters convent and ask for assistance. Since the Servite Sisters are working mostly in the rural areas and hill areas, the poor can easily get access to the Sisters help and guidance.

The Sister Superior of the convent concerned will first study the request whether it is genuine together with the community Sisters. Then the Superior contacts the Provincial superior and the in-charge of St. Mary’s Home. The former again study each request with the Sisters at St. Mary’s Home and accept the candidate with the admission form.

Right now, there are 121children belonging to different ethnic races, like Burmese, Arakanese, Chins, Kachins, Kayah, Wa, Karen and Indians.

From what age are the children accepted ?

Normally, children in Myanmar go to school from the age of 6. In the past, the Sisters could accept children from the age of 6, but there were girls who are 9, 10 and above who have to be accepted because they may have lost their parents.

At present, the Sisters accept girls as young as 3 years of age as there have been many requests from the people. Since a nursery school was opened recently to care for the children under the age of 5 from the locality, to generate income and to provide another vocational outlet for the older girls who cannot go for university, the Sisters could now easily accommodate the young girls at their own nursery for a well-grounded basic education.

Up to what age does St.Mary’S Home look after the children ?

St. Mary’s Home looks after the girls from the age of 3 up to when they finish their studies.

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The youngest group of St. Mary’s Home (Age 3 to 4 )

The aim of St. Mary’s Home is to help the girls to stand on their own feet and to get them settle in life.

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The girls getting ready to go to school with a school bus behind.

Some girls manage to study well, pass the examination and become eligible to go to college. Once they finish their university studies, the Sisters help the girls to find jobs and stand on their own feet.

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These girls are doing their university studies

Those who cannot pass the entrance exam to college are given opportunity to go for vocational training such as sewing, knitting, embroidery, computer courses, English courses, cooking and hotel management, nurse aid training in order to help them find some jobs.

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Learning to make dresses

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Making door mats

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Learning to make vestments

Three girls from St. Mary’s Home got married and are leading a happy married life. Many of our alumni got employed as nurses, teachers, staff in offices, NGOs and shop assistants. Now and then they come back to St. Mary’s Home to express their gratitude.

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Making brooms (Vocational training)

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Making Balm (Ointment)

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Alumni trained as Nurses, ready to join the hospitals

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Girls trained in creative art

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Girls working hard for self-sufficiency

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Garden work

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Clearing away the bush in the fish pond (self – support project)

For an example, Sylvia Thomas, one of the alumni, together with her two blood sisters are the great pride to St. Mary’s Home. They all grew up at St. Mary’s Home after their mother died when they were very young. After some years the Father also died and they continued to take refuge at St. Mary’s Home under the guidance of Fr. Singa Rayar and the Servite Sisters. All the three sisters are now well settled in Perth, Australia with each having jobs of their own.

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Sylvia Thomas visits St. Mary’s Home whenever she returns to Myanmar. She is empathetic with the children there, knowing what it was like to lose her parents.

Sylvia continues to visit St. Mary’s Home and assists the Sisters by providing meals for the children and other needful things. She also shares her experiences and exhorts the children at the Home to come up in life.

She said, “She learnt proper behaviors, positive thinking, group activities, respect for the elders, gained good education, music, arts and especially how to communicate with God and Jesus.”

Sylvia Thomas and her two sisters still consider St. Mary’s Home as their home. They all have regular communication with the Sisters and still seek advice and guidance from the Sisters.

Recently, St. Mary’s Home offered opportunities to few girls to be trained as boarding house mistresses. This is one way that the alumni express their gratitude they owed to St. Mary’s Home through their voluntary service. Some of them are employed in self-support projects of St. Mary’s Home.

St. Mary’s Home has been giving life to many girls in its journey of (22) years, totally depending on the Providence of God.

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Fr. Singa Rayar, the patron of St. Mary’s Home and the Servite Sisters worked very hard with all the self-support projects to run the Home with trust in the Providence of God. God really made wonders in their life as a reward for their hard work and strong belief in the Providence. Many a times at St. Mary’s Home, the Sisters experienced the shortage of food and had to skip many meals because of not having enough rice. But they never fail in their total dependence on the Providence of God.

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The older girls with the help of the sisters preparing for lunch boxes for (121)

One day, there was no rice to cook for the next day at home. All the Sisters and the children prayed to the Lord and went to bed.

The next day early morning in front of the Home, a rich Buddhist man came with a truck loaded with sacks of rice and he said that in his dream last night, he met a line of Sisters dressed in white, begging for rice and he came to realize that the Sisters are in need of rice and he came and delivered the sacks of rice. Isn’t it a miracle? This is one of the many incidents where the Sisters experienced the Providence of God at St. Mary’s Home.

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The sisters are helping the girls in their personal cleanliness every week

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The sisters are cutting the nails regularly

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The girls are lining up for hair-cut

Fr. Singa Rayar, had inspired the Servite Sisters in many ways with his strong faith in the Providence. All the buildings, including the St. Mary’s Home on the 50 acre’s land were constructed by Fr. Singa Rayar. He would often undertake the construction of a building without having funds to finish it. He used to tell the Sisters to have faith in God and work hard with perseverance and zeal. He said “God will certainly provide what you need”. Surprisingly enough, he always managed to finish all the buildings that he started to build. While everything was going on well at St. Mary’s Home under the guidance and management of Fr. Singa Rayar, a great tragedy came to our lives at St. Mary’s Home on 27 April 2010. It was the sudden demise of Fr. Singa Rayar the founder of St. Mary’s Home who worked so hard with his sweat and blood for the systematic, standard and well-established St. Mary’s campus.

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Fr. Singa Rayar is buried on the ground of the farm, which is what he had requested as he spent much of his life’s effort to develop it. He died in April 2010. Three bishops came to say his funeral mass, which was attended by more than 100 priests, 300 religious & many people.

We were totally devastated, and we are still missing him as he has opened our eyes, broaden our vision, inspired us to be self-sufficient with hard work. We all were left like sheep without a shepherd, children without a Father.

All those who visit St. Mary’s Home are totally amazed at the great achievements of Fr. Singa Rayar and they all feel that he is very much alive at St. Mary’s campus by seeing the sustainable and beautifully developed farm and the campus.

We do greatly believe that his spirit is still leading us and he is watching over us from above and helping us in our needs in the past 8 years’ of journey.

Fr. Singa Rayar who died in 2010 at the age of 75 left a wonderful legacy for us and his motto about the importance of hard work and prayer adorns the whole St. Mary’s campus.

We still turn to Fr. Singa Rayar for his guidance. A week after his death, a Sister in charge of the orphanage came to Sr. Salette Mary who automatically took upon herself the whole responsibility of running St. Mary’s Home, with a series of issues, including a shortage of stationeries for the girls.

“I was really devastated on what to do” she said, “I prayed to him, Father, the problems start now please help Father, I do not know what to do.”

A few days later, a man called from Yangon asking if she needed books for the children and he brought load of stationeries for the girls.

“Since then, from 2010 to now, I don’t spend any money for stationery. Somehow, the Lord is providing us through various kind hearted donors”, she said.

This is how Fr. Singa Rayar is still watching over his children from above. He is very much alive with us in spirit at St. Mary’s Home.

We will work harder to maintain the wonderful legacy left by our founder and patron, Fr. Singa Rayar. The dream of our patron with his aim will have to be realized.

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Girls playing the musical instruments at a Christmas party

One of his dreams was to form a music band of girls at St. Mary’s Home. He intended that the girls at St. Mary’s Home should be able to sing and play the musical instruments in ceremonies and functions.

In the past two years, we have managed to arrange for the learning of music, vocal training and playing of musical instruments, such as, violin, guitar, drums and ukulele. The girls are now doing well with their playing of musical instruments and singing and composing songs. They all are often invited to play and sing in public, in functions and religious ceremonies.

We, the management of St. Mary’s Home are trying our very best for the holistic growth of our less-fortunate children under our care.

One of his famous saying is, “God helps those who help themselves”. He practically followed and lived accordingly. St. Mary’s Home is journeying ahead with his inspired life, encouraging words and prayerful intercessions and with all your generous and constant support.

Many thanks to all of you for your incessant encouragement, support and appreciation.

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Girls grow vegetables for their daily consumption