While being in Thailand over the month of November, we were thinking of ways to involve our students more, how to give them a voice and find a space and medium for them to express themselves. What we have come up with is an amazing project that we are super excited to share with you over the next months. For three days each, we gave 12 students a camera and asked them to take pictures of their lives outside of the school, showing it in the way they perceive it. What resulted are some deeply touching and intimate pictures of finding hope in dire circumstances.
Starting in March, we will introduce one student and his pictures every month on our website and facebook page. So watch out!
Despite the most recent political developments in Myanmar, clashes in Northern Shan State between the Myanmar army and armed ethnic insurgents seem to continue, forcing residents to keep fleeing their villages. Indeed, despite an agreed cease-fire, the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF) stated at the end of November 2015 that, since October, new fights had erupted and the military had “launched repeated air and ground missile attacks on densely populated civilian areas,” including “fighter aircraft and artillery raining bombs on 6000 civilians” in different townships that harbored shelters for 1,500 displaced villagers. These attacks, that beside shooting, also include other, well-covered up war crimes and human rights violations such as the burning down of villages, abductions and rape of ethnic people, have forced more than 10’000 people from their townships yet again.
Efforts to bring peace to Myanmar have been built on the assumption that the Burmese army is changing, yet instead of devolving powers as announced, the army continues to burn down villages that did not sign the so-called Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, and forces those that have to disarm and surrender. Thus, even though there is an air of hope with the new government lead by Aung San Suu Kyi, who has made ethnic peace her number one priority, restoring such fractured negotiations won’t be an easy task and “she will have a hard time because her main obstacle is the army” (BBC).
So let’s hope she will succeed.
Our latest news are regularly put together by our executive board to give you the latest updates on our work and progress.