A group of young people in Myanmar has been distributing vegetables and other food stuff in communities most affected by the pandemic, which has been exacerbated by the military coup in the country.
Since February 1, Myanmar has been in turmoil after the military took over the government and arrested several of the country’s political leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi.
People responded by coming out in the streets to protest and signify their opposition to the military by calling for civil disobedience.
The economy has been paralyzed and impacted supply chains and markets, resulting in the steep rise in food and fuel prices.
The rising food and fuel prices, compounded by the near paralysis of the banking sector, slowdowns in remittances, and widespread limits on cash availability, affected people, especially the poor who live from whatever daily income they have.
Before the coup, charitable groups were able to distribute the necessary supplies. When the military council took control of all charitable groups, including those run by the Church and other religious organizations, the help stopped.
Then the young people came to help. They contributed money and bought vegetables from poor farmers in the outskirts of the city. The vegetables were then distributed in urban poor communities.
Ko Kyaw Zin (not his real name) said he was joining protest marchers since the military coup. Every day, on his way to the demonstrations, he would see poor people waiting for food on the roadside.
He thought of ways to help them, but how could he do it. He himself is poor, and he even joins the demonstrations because there is food there, unlike if he stays at home.
He talked with his friends and shared his plan. The collected money from among themselves and bought vegetables and distributed it to the poor.
After a week, they though of inviting others to share. They wrote on placards that they display during their distribution sorties: “Take what you need and give what you can.”
People started coming to donate. Sacks of rice, fish, vegetables come from poor farmers outside the city. People also displace placards that read: “Take freely if you need for your family.”
What started as a small act of sharing became viral on social media and has been duplicated in many parts of Myanmar. - Peter KyiMg / RVA News