Fighting hunger and feeding hope for the future
Farming skills help vulnerable families in Myanmar escape extreme hunger.
World Vision's Resilience & Livelihood Technical Programme has launched the Ultra Poor Graduation Model (UPG) in 25 of its Area Programmes since 2020.
Ultra Poor Graduation aims to improve the lives of 1,138 of the most vulnerable families like U Kyar Hpu’s family in Myanmar. According to the measurement in September 2020, 547 out of 1138 households, 48.1% of total UPG households had graduated according to the graduation criteria.
After graduation, 81.3% of Ultra Poor Graduation households now have a secondary income source, 90.4% of households have savings, and 92.4% of households have a family vision.
U Kyar Hpu, 61, and his wife, Daw Nar Yi, 46, are a couple from new Mile Li village in Hseni township, Northern Shan state, Myanmar. They do hillside farming and odd jobs to make a living.
"Daily struggles and sleepless nights"
They have an 8-year-old son, Aung Zin Moe who is a World Vision-registered child and a 14-year-old daughter, Lay May. A 15-year-old niece, Na Ei Shal, whose parents passed away, is also living with them.
Their elder daughter, Lay May, had contracted Tuberculosis (TB) when she was three and had to take TB medicine for a long time. As a result, she was malnourished and her brain development was affected leading her to drop out of school in Grade 2.
She assists her parents in farming and 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 as we had to rely on loans. Although we had rice seeds in hand, we couldn’t afford for the cost of cultivation."
"Our family life was marked by daily struggle for survival. There were even some sleepless nights. As we are old, it was not possible for us to go to the countries like Thailand and China to find a job like other people. We had to live with worries.”
Saving the home farm
In November 2019, World Vision Hseni conducted a field visit to Mile Li village and held a meeting with village leaders to assist the most vulnerable families with food.
That was followed up by a field trip for assessment. World Vision learned about the struggle of U Kyar Hpu’s family and selected his family for World Vision’s Ultra-Poor Graduation (UPG) programme.
“In May 2020, we were selected along with other most vulnerable families for UPG programme and received food assistance."
"As monthly food assistance, we got (38.6Kg) of rice, 70 chicken eggs, 3.4 kg of beans, 5 litres of cooking oil from World Vision for 6-month period,” says U Kyar Hpu.
“With the money we earned from doing odd jobs, we were able to restart our hillside farming and clear the farmland for cultivation."
"As we had sufficient food in hand 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 for hillside farming."
"We were very happy to see our paddy field growing successful in front of us.”
“In addition, we participated in a World Vision’s Savings for Transformation Group and could save 360,000 MMK ($225) for a year with a monthly savings of 30,000 MMK ($18.7). With that money, we could breed five local pigs."
"We got 780,000 MMK ($487.5) by selling six piglets that we obtained from the mother pig and donated 78,000MMK ($48.7) as a tithe to the church."
"As we could sell the pigs with a good price, we were also able to pay off the debt of 460,000 MMK (US$287.5) that we had borrowed for our daily food supply.
“In September 2021, we received 1 additional sack of rice and 3l of cooking oil as part of World Vision Myanmar’s emergency response."
"Currently, we do not need to worry about our daily food because we received enough food supply 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.
As the head of his family, U Kyar Hpu has a dream while he is alive.
“I want to renovate the house we are currently living in. We have gathered the materials needed for the house. We have planned to build a house which would be safe for our children when the harvest time comes.”
“Soon after the harvest, we will have enough food for the next year for our family."
"We pray for World Vision and donors every time we have our meal as well as in family prayer time at night. Our family will always remember them in our prayer.”
Over the past year, World Vision delivered vital food supplies to 7.9 million people – 6 million of them children – across 29 nations. Your donations will supply lifesaving food assistance to vulnerable families like U Kyar Hpu's.