Around the year 1970, a Burmese man named U Tet Tun started taking care of orphaned boys. That happened in a barn in the town of Minethouk, near the city of Nyaung Shwe on Lake Inle in Myanmar. In 1995 U Tet Tun met the Dutchman Cor Visser (✝). They became friends and Cor provided U Tet Tun with business and organizational advice.

Build boys' orphanage

In the year 2000, a boys' orphanage was built in Minethouk. This orphanage was funded by the Myanmar Children's Association, chaired by Mark Tippetts from the UK. The land was donated by U Ohn Maung, an influential Burmese. U Tet Tun was officially appointed as an orphanage father. The number of boys grew from 20 to 50.

Foundation Care for Children

Because there was no shelter for orphaned girls in the region, Cor Visser took the initiative in May 2002 to set up a foundation, with the aim of collecting funds for the construction of an orphanage for girls. The Care for Children Foundation (CfC) was established in August 2002 by notarial deed and in November of that year designated by the Tax Inspector as a Public Benefit Institution (ANBI).

The land on which the girls' orphanage was built was donated by U Ohn Maung. Cor Visser became chairman of the foundation, Maria Overmars became vice-chairman and Simon Goede was treasurer/secretary. Sponsorship campaigns were held in the Netherlands and donors were recruited. Wilde Ganzen also committed itself to the project. In 2003 the board of CfC decided to build the girls' orphanage. The construction costs could be divided approximately equally between the Myanmar Children Foundation and the Care for Children foundation.

Build girls orphanage

In 2004 the construction of the girls' orphanage started. The orphaned girls who had already reported were temporarily housed in the shed where the orphan boys had once started. In the autumn of 2005 the building could be consecrated in the traditional Burmese way. From that moment on, U Tet Tun was also responsible for the care of the orphaned girls.

Takeover of boys' orphanage

In mid-2007 the board of Care for Children received the message that the Myanmar Children Association was going to stop sponsoring the boys' orphanage. During a successful benefit festival in the Netherlands, so many new donors signed up that it was justified to also pay the living costs for the approximately 40 boys.

Death of Cor Visser

Cor Visser passed away suddenly in December 2007. That was a big loss for the foundation. Because he was in Myanmar on average six months a year, he arranged everything on the spot. From that moment on, U Tet Tun and his staff had to be directed by the board in the Netherlands. The board was adjusted. Maria Overmars became chairman and two other board members were added to the board.

From 2008 the board members visited the orphanages once a year. This was not enough to properly guide U Tet Tun, gain insight into Burmese culture and build a good relationship with the influential men U Ohn Maung and Mark Tippets. Until 2010, the latter sometimes came to check on the spot and that often led to improvements, such as the construction of a tea house for tourists, the renovation of the kitchen and money for further education of the young people.

Governance crisis

Consultant Maria Overmars last visited the orphanages in 2016. After that, a governance crisis broke out in the Netherlands. In 2019, Maria Overmars and treasurer/secretary Simon Goede entered into a discussion with the board members of the World Child Care foundation. This Dutch foundation has been active in Myanmar since 2008 and runs a number of projects at the Phaung Daw Oo High School, a large and important Buddhist monastic school in the city of Mandalay. The board members have a great deal of knowledge of Burmese culture and secretary Nico Schoenmakers travels to Myanmar twice a year.

New foundation board

The meetings went well and as of January 1, 2020, the Care for Children Foundation has a completely new board. In February 2020 secretary Nico Schoenmakers paid a first working visit to the orphanages in Minethouk. He had already been there during a holiday in 2013. The management of the orphanages, the care for the orphans and the staff, as well as the local contacts are in good hands with the new board members.

The Care for Children Foundation is formally the sponsor for both orphanages. In addition to money from the Netherlands, the orphanages also receive an annual allowance from the Social Welfare Department. U Tet Tun reports monthly on the way in which the money is spent. The financial administration has been redesigned and is fully transparent.

Local Committee

The practical organization of the orphanages is the responsibility of a local committee. U Tet Tun is the secretary of this committee and the chairman is U San Myint. In terms of content, the management of the houses is discussed with the members by U Tet Tun. Thanks to this committee, the government is kept at a distance.

Old age provision

U Tet Tun has indicated that he will continue to care for the children until his death. The Care for Children Foundation has reserved an amount for an old-age provision. After fifty years of dedication to the orphans in Minethouk, we owe him that.