How ECDC Came About
The desire to do something for disabled children in Myanmar was rooted in the heart of the founder, U Tha Uke, when he was working as a Physiotherapist in 1995-96 at the Spastic Children Association of Penang, Malaysia, and after volunteering twice a week at the Eden Handicap Service Centre. He continued to work as a Physiotherapist at St. Luke’s Hospital for the Elderly, Singapore, for another two years but came back to his mother country for good in August 1998. He took nearly one year to finish his project proposal for the Eden Handicapped Service Centre (EHSC), Yangon, Myanmar and during that time he met Daw Lilian Gyi, the principal of the School for Disabled Children, who has dedicated her whole life to children with disabilities. She helped him as a mentor for this project from the beginning.
How ECDC Has Grown
After giving the services to 14 disabled children for more than a year, at their own residences. U Tha Uke (Hta Oke) opened the centre twice a week at the residence of co founder Daw Lilian Gyi in Yangon, by May 2000 and he had used the residence for four months. The first site for the Eden Centre was rented at No. 13 (A), Daw Hla Pan Street, Ward 2, Mayangone Township, Yangon from September 2000 to December 2001, with the help of the chairperson of the organization. The ex-colleges of Tha Uke from St. Luke’s Hospital for the Elderly, Singapore came to visit Myanmar at the time and later helped finance the land. A one story building was financed by the ‘Grass-root Grant Assistance Scheme’ through the Japanese Embassy in August, 2001. In January 2002, they moved again to David Shwe Nu Street, Ward 2, Mayangone Township, Yangon, they remained their for ten months before finally moving onto their current site, Phawkan Insein in November 2002. Their first four staff were recruited in October, 2001 after the ‘Association for Aids and Relief (AAR), Japan’ started to foster our ten children through the ‘foster parent program’ in August 2001. (A grant from AAR through the foster parent program is and was our main source of finance in the early stage) This foster parent program reached its height in 2009 and slowly faded out as agreed from the outset. Since 2013 the foster program has formally ended but still offers general support.
Since 2007 The Eden Centre has started making partnerships with other International NGOs and has implemented various projects on “Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR)” and “Inclusive Education (IE)” around the country.
Today more than 160 children with disabilities are benefiting and receiving the necessary services, both in the centre and at their own residence. At present there are 60+ full time staff working at the centre and in projects.