Reintegration of children detained on the city streets of Myanmar

Trace street children’s homes and reunite them with their families, as well as providing care and schooling or vocational training to keep them from rejoining the streets.

Reintegration of children detained on the city streets of Myanmar

Living on the streets

In Myanmar, a great number of children, some of which are as young as six years old, left their home or were separated from their families and now live on the streets. They have to resort to selling flowers, assisting in tea shops, collecting waste material or begging to make a living. Besides the hardship of living alone and providing for themselves, the children are also at risk of physical abuse and sexual exploitation.

The training centres

The Burmese authorities periodically round the children up off the streets and detain them until a guardian comes forward to take custody of the child. If nobody claims them, the police transfers the children to so-called “training schools”, which essentially are orphanages or residences managed by the Department of Social Welfare (DSW).

Paradoxically, the “street cleaning” and detention may offer the children a way out of illicit activities and underage work. However, the training schools are often not equipped adequately for children and they continue to be separated from their families.

Reuniting children with their families

Terre des hommes works towards reuniting the children with their families or communities. Our staff starts from a very early stage to engage with the children to trace where they are from. Hints to their origin can be found through group discussions, drawings and dialogue with the child.  If a child’s family can be found, our experts try to reunite it with his/her family. Younger children are sent back to school by supporting parents with fees or school material. Elder children, above 14, receive vocational training to learn skills that can earn a living to avoid that they rejoin the streets. Sometimes families are also supported with small loans to start a business, employment can be found for siblings or child care can be organised. Our aim is to find the optimal solution for each child so the boy or girl has a real opportunity to develop skills and achieve a more stable way of life that can benefit him-/herself and the siblings as well.

Terre des hommes and DSW’s social work teams collaborate on family tracing and reintegration activities in nearly 90 townships across all 14 different states and regions of Myanmar. Additionally, through the close partnership capacities of the DSW’s social workers can be increased through in-service training and mentoring in best practices.

Alternative care

Since the end of 2015, our local team supports children who cannot live with their families. We offer solutions for them to grow up within their communities like foster families, shared care or supported independent living.


Wai Yan was locked up in a training centre. After reunification with his family, he can now be a vounteer fire warden.

Wai Yan, enjoys to play football


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