14-year-old Sandar says that her grandfather, U Myaing Tin, is her best friend. He has taken care of her and her sister ever since they were born. This Father’s Day, we speak to them about their special relationship…
U Myaing Tin’s wife died 10 years ago, following a stroke. Three of his four children moved to Thailand to find work; he hasn’t heard from them since.
But he isn’t alone.
He lives with his daughter and two granddaughters, Sandar and Thandar, in a traditional bamboo house in rural Myanmar (Burma).
‘I’m very happy to live with my daughter and grandchildren,’ he says. ‘We all help each other. If they were not here, my life would be very different. I’d be scared to live on my own. I’d be lonely and sad.’
The 67-year-old works as a farm labourer, growing and harvesting rice. He spends his earnings on his grandchildren – covering the costs of their schooling and some basic household expenses.
‘I am very happy to see my grandchildren in school: I want them to be educated,’ he says. ‘If I could live to see my grandchildren graduate and get a job, I’d be so happy.’
Age International supports the family; we helped U Myaing Tin buy a pig to raise and sell. We also gave him glasses to help him see clearly, and he gets regular health check-ups and vitamins from one of our medical volunteers.
Thandar wants to be a teacher when she grows up. Sandar wants to travel the world. And what does U Myaing Tin say, when he hears that he is Sandar’s best friend?
‘It’s difficult for me to express my feelings, but I feel very happy to hear such lovely words from Sandar. I’m very proud to have the family I have.’
How we support grandparents and children around the world
Here are just some of the things that Age International does to help grandparents and grandchildren:
- Eye care and free cataract operations
- Glasses, walking sticks and hearing aids
- Creating pensions where they don’t exist, and helping people to claim them where they do
- Micro-credit schemes, training and support – so older people can run their own small businesses
- Specialist healthcare schemes to treat people in remote locations
- Age-friendly aid during emergencies