A group of teenagers in Myanmar has set up a Facebook page where they share stories of Kachin residents who were displaced by war.
The teenagers behind the Facebook page Rangoon Revealed visited the camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in the town of Myitkyina in Kachin State, located in northern Myanmar, to raise awareness about the plight of the local residents and to deliver humanitarian aid.
Rangoon refers to the former name of Yangon city, the country's premier urban center. The Facebook page became popular for documenting the lives of ordinary Yangon residents. Last month, the team behind the Facebook page announced that they will visit IDP camps in Kachin to monitor the situation of the people who were displaced as a result of the renewed civil war in northern Myanmar.
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 100,000 people are currently living in makeshift camps due to the prolonged armed conflict between Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and the Myanmar government. The armed hostilities started in June 2011. Last month, aid groups reported that the situation of many IDPs is deteriorating because of dwindling financial support. This inspired the young volunteers of Rangoon Revealed to organize a humanitarian visit.
They successfully raised over 2,000 US dollars before the trip. In a Facebook post, they informed the public and their donors that the money will benefit more than 1,000 students in three IDP camps.
Below are some of the Kachin people interviewed by Rangoon Revealed.
What's your happiest moment in your life?
There are no happy moments here in the IDP camp. We are all struggling to live and we are always busy with our lives. I am from Sama province, Ja Pu village. When the war broke out, almost all the villagers from our village as well as the villages nearby fled to places where the war hasn't reached. But my husband…
I'm attending 10th grade right now. I've been going to school on and off lately. I have to help out here in the camp as well so I don't have much time….
I have been volunteering here for 3 years. Well, I'm not alone. It's me and a friend of mine. We aren't IDPs but we have been staying here in this camp (Mi Na) since the first year. There are people from a lot of villages, you know? So sometimes when they get on bad terms with each other, I have to be the one who solves their conflicts. I am like a facilitator…
What's your happiest moment here?
When we all gather around on Sundays at church. Also on evenings like this, when my neighbors, children, and I gather and just talk about our daily lives and the daily struggles here. It helps us forget the problems we are facing in the big picture. It helps us distract ourselves from the war that's going on…
Rangoon Revealed told Global Voices that they will be uploading more stories in the coming weeks. So stay tuned!