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She writes and acts

When I was given the assignment to interview a woman activist in my community, a special writer-activist appeared in my mind immediately. Several of her writings make me cry for the various struggling people she describes. She is Than Myint Aung who is in her fifties and has two married daughters whom she raised on her own after she lost her husband in 1986. Now her daughters have been helping in her community development projects. One is helping in environmental training and the other one is providing technological support. I would like to share with World Pulse many of the interesting things I heard from this very special Burmese woman.
This remarkable woman entered into the world of journalism in 1987 with the name of Than Myint Aung. She wrote her first short story, “Television Suffering,” in 'Tine Yin May' magazine (a woman's magazine). She mostly writes stories based on real life, as well as articles about vulnerable people in societies in magazines and journals. After reading her writings many people from the community become volunteers and donors to aid financial, medical, educational and other supports for vulnerable communities. So far, Than Myint Aung has written three novels, eleven short stories books, ten longer stories and a book titled Fields of Social and Charity together with other writers. One of her novels was translated and published in Japan.
Than Myint Aung is very well-known for her commitments in the communities. She supports the needs of the students at some monastic and nan schools and is also providing students courses in ethics and morals. And she established and has been running a fees free school for ten years. Another big initiative was setting up an HIV/AIDS positive orphanage with her friends and some donors. The isolated community of people with leprosy and their families was made known to the public by her writing and now they have lots of psychological and medical support and assistance for their livelihood from local and oversea sources. The involvement of the very famous monk Ashin Zawana and other writers has been very effective in making sure the projects are carried out efficiently.
In 2000 Than Myint Aung travelled to Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia to study environmental protection of food and general consumer production protection. She also learned about natural fertilizer and organic plantation, micro finance and other community development studies. When she arrived back in Myanmar, she established the Green Love Team with other two trainees from the courses and other enthusiasts. Goals of the project are to generate income from the creation of safer, healthier and cheaper products made from fruits, plants and vegetables rather than from chemical products. Than Myint Aung said, “One of our achievements from this project is at the monastic charity center with over six hundred children of different ethnic groups. Their products are become widely used in the community and they are going to extend their markets.” She went on to explain that another goal is for the children to avoid being dependent on donations and to be independent with their income. This can also lead to reducing the unemployment. The Green Love Team is also teaching how to produce chemical free products like shampoo, facial cleansing and laundry soaps which are made from fruits and is providing the courses, especially to charity centers and organizations, unemployed people from Nargis cyclone affected regions and other NGOs.
Another important achievement of Than Myint Aung was doing research of modern therapy for mental health care at the Hospital of Mental Health Care with other activists. She and some of her friends set up a center for the elderly called Sizar Yeik (Shelter of the Dawn) to provide medical assistance and special care which is more caring than some other places. She also assists Chairman U Kyaw Thu from Free Funeral Service Society as a Secretary.”
According to Than Myint Aung “collaborating” plays the crucial role in doing charity works for society. The first example is the teachers in her free school, Aung Myay ( Victory Land). They are vital elements for the future of the students. More than three hundred students have become high school graduates from that school. The collaboration among professional and other activists increased the care of two HIV/AIDS orphans to reach sixty orphans at the orphanage. All children are provided parental love and care that is the same as a real family life. They also have complete children’s rights. Generally, collaboration among local and oversea donors, medical professionals, and volunteers play main roles for health care and free funeral services for the community.
It is easy to see why Than Myint Aung is one of my role models for playing a leading and participatory role with her power of writing, power of caring and various projects. She was able to overcome many challenges to solve the most vulnerable issues in communities. I am so delighted to write this article as a gift of honor.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future, which is providing rigorous web 2.0 and new media training for 30 emerging women leaders. We are speaking out for social change from some of the most unheard regions of the world.

Comments

Sarvina's picture

well-done!

Wow...sister NI NI! The profile of Than Myint Aung is so wonderful. She is an extraordinary woman!!!

Love,
Sarvina

Regards,

Sarvina from Cambodia
VOF 2011 Correspondent

Rebecca Roberts's picture

What great accomplishments!

Ni Ni, thank you so much for sharing this woman's many accomplishments. What an outstanding role model she is for creating positive change in a community. Her example is inspiring! You mention that she had to overcome many challenges in taking on these important social issues ~ what were those challenges, and how did she overcome them?

NI NI AYE's picture

Unspoken challenge

Dear Rebecca Roberts

Thank you so much for reading my article and powerful comments. When I interviewed her I also asked the same question you want to know now. But it was unspoken for her safety. I wish I could answer .

Warm Regards

NI NI

Congratulations on Very Happy Teachers Day through ten years journey!

lindalubin's picture

Powerful subject

Ni Ni, thank you for informing us of the powerful work that Than Myint Aung is doing in your country. She has accomplished so much that at times I wondered if she was many lives rolled into one!! It must have been quite an honor for you being able to interview her. You described her work beautifully. How, in particular, did she inspire you in your own life and in your own work?

Linda

NI NI AYE's picture

Power of persuasion

Dear Linda

Thank you so much for giving her comments and encouraging me .I was firstly inspired by her powerful writing to persuade people to be aware of needs and made them help with those needs. And when I saw her involvement in doing humanitarian works , she became my model because she was able to draw several attention from many people to organize charity groups . She approves possibilities of getting achievement with collaboration . Her power of getting collaboration from people with various background makes me impressed.

Best Regards

NI NI

Congratulations on Very Happy Teachers Day through ten years journey!

lindalubin's picture

Yes to collaboration!

Ni Ni,
This is what will create a new way of living in our world - "getting collaboration from people with various backgrounds." This seems to me to be at the core of your interview and those of others. I appreciate your pointing this out - it is vital to our survival.

Blessings,
Linda

Linda

NI NI AYE's picture

I;m happy you've got it

Dear Linda

I am really happy that I could make it clear. Thank you so much for letting me know it . You are a kind sister.

Big Hug

NI NI

Congratulations on Very Happy Teachers Day through ten years journey!

Rachael Maddock-Hughes's picture

Amazing!

Dear Ni Ni,

It is amazing to think that one woman could possibly accomplish all that you've written above. I can very much understand why you chose to focus on her. I particularly like that you highlighted the fact that collaboration played a critical role in all of her projects' success. I think that is important and makes development programs so much stronger. I would have liked to have a few more quotes from Than Myint Aung. Maybe you can integrate that into your next piece more.

Great job and wonderful first assignment!

Cheers,

Rachael

"In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They're with us from the moment we're born, and nothing can dilute their intensity." Rob Brezny

NI NI AYE's picture

Lovely voice

Hi Rachael

I am so happy to hear your lovely voice. Thanks . She was also happy whenever I told her about VOF comments on her works. I will pass your message too. I hope I could make my next assignment will make you interested as well. See you there my friend.

Lovingly yours

NI NI

Congratulations on Very Happy Teachers Day through ten years journey!

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