The Stories Of Courageous Women Of Myanmar

Posted on June 20, 2012 in GlobeScope

By Srishti Jain:

Zin Mar Aung, Naw She’ Wah and Htar Htar are some of those daring beauties who didn’t think even for a split second before indulging into a fight against the oppressive Myanmar’s government run by military. They put their health, their peace of mind, their marriages, everything at stake just to nurture their dream of having a fair and just Myanmar free of all unethical government practices.

When Zin Mar Aung wrote a letter to the military junta demanding the elected civilian government to take power, she didn’t realize that she was inviting a very long jail term, about 28 years, or maybe she knew what was to follow. She was a member of NLD Youth and activism ran in her veins. When she was released under a prisoner amnesty in September 2009, she took to her forte of activism again and continues to work in the democracy movement in Rangoon. She works on ethnicity related issues, is the co-founder of women’s empowerment group and is also a member of 88-Generation Student group.

As reported by Hanna Ingber/GlobalPost: In 1998, when Zin Mar Aung was 22, the military came for her. She was home with her family, and her sister told her to run, but Zin Mar Aung knew she had no choice. “I cannot escape,” she said as she recently recounted the events. “And if I escaped, they would pressure my father and family.”

Her words of concern for her family and her accountability personify an honesty of her dreams and a daunting belief in herself. Telling that she was imprisoned in a cell most unclean and filled with bugs, where at times she got up at night only to see bugs crawling in her hair or that the authorities didn’t allow her to read/write for the first seven years of her imprisonment would be a small call of atrocities that were inflicted upon this woman.

Naw Shé Wah, as a widow and single mother in Myanmar, she beat the odds of her circumstances and now works to improve the lives of women living with HIV and AIDS. She made good use of her credentials and works as a project officer with the Myanmar positive Group, an informal network of self help support groups for people living with HIV, which is supported by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Around close to 80 support groups with 1,600 participants in 77 townships across Myanmar are brought together under an umbrella community by this network. The overall project is managed through a partnership with Church World Service Asia Pacific.

Plagued with HIV, the problems didn’t seem to end for her just at this. When she lost her husband, her family blamed her, ultimately disowning her; she lost her job, all her property, all she had was the love of her two children and a killer instinct in herself to do something for women like her. And we all know she what she did henceforth.

Htar Htar, hers is rather a story with which even very common women sitting in any part of the world can relate to. A dusky beauty, Htar Htar chose to spoke against the “conventional” practice of sexually harassing women in public transports like buses. With no law against such indecent behavior, the victims were often reluctant to voice themselves. Htar was meted with such behavior at the age of ten while travelling through a local bus. She didn’t speak of the event for the rest 30 years of her life, but in 2011, when the political space in the otherwise disturbed Myanmar was opening, she also decided to open up about her past.

What followed is a remarkable journey. She along with around some 300 volunteers initiated a campaign where they distributed whistles and information brochures to women travelling in bus urging them to whistle as and when they realized that their personal space was being compromised. And she has been pretty successful in her this endeavor so far.

These women have broken the glass ceiling and come out with flying colors, serving as hope to millions of others like them who would get inspired and emulate their success.

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