The first group of Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine (UEHRD) youth volunteers went to villages in Maungtaw District, Buthidaung and Maungtaw townships from 13 to 21 November for 9 days and provided humanitarian assistance.
Under the theme “20 days of youth for the people”, groups were formed comprised of youths of all faiths to provide humanitarian assistances effectively, to participate in resettling and redevelopment processes and assist in regional development and conflict avoidance.
Youths who want to participate in the “20 days of youth for the people” should be 18 to 35 years of age and able to commit to a long-term programme. More groups will be formed and sent in the coming weeks and months. The following are the voices of the UEHRD youth volunteer first batch who were interviewed by the news group while they were in Maungtaw town.
U Maung Maung Gyi, Maungtaw Township Relief and Resettlement Department
Youth volunteers went to Maungtaw and Buthidaung region for nine days from 13 to 21 November and provided humanitarian and food assistance. They went to 19 Mro villages and two Bengali villages in Maungtaw Township, 12 eth
nic national villages and two Bengali villages in Buthidaung Township. When the youths visited the villages, they collected data about the people, what is required and what needs to be done for development. In providing assistance, five persons were set as a unit and provided with foodstuff such as rice, cooking oil, salt, peas, onion, canned fish and potatoes.
The youth volunteers are from all regions and are of all faiths. As locals came along to translate, language difference weren’t much of a problem. Our department was involved in order to provide the necessary donated foods for the youth volunteers to distribute. Transport, food, lodging and security for the youth volunteers were provided in coordination with district general administrative department. The first batch has completed their work and we are now preparing for the second batch.
Ko Sai Thu
(Central Coordination Team-steering group)
Seventy people came along with me when I left Yangon. Thirty-five were for Buthidaung and 35 were for Maungtaw. From there, depending on the numbers of villages to visit, they were divided into smaller groups. When we provided food to the locals here, we want the food to be the one they want. Instead of giving the food to the village elder or head, we handed out to everyone in their homes and study their way of living. Data such as family type, type of houses they are living in and their requirement were collected. I think our visits will be more effective for them.
Although we come from different places, under UEHRD and HCYD, we are one and together. Youth from our HCYD, Wai Lu Kyaw Foundation, NLD, Brighter Future Myanmar (Kanbawza) and Rakhine Thahaya participate in the group. As we, the youths, are going on a humanitarian mission, we don’t want to be criticised for providing aid to one and not to another. So we provide everything equally. What we provided now may not be all the things that they wanted. But we are arranging to provide them with basic foodstuff.
We reach many Mro, Kaman and Daingnet. Regional teams also accompany us. What I saw is that locals need job opportunities. They’ve lost a lot. They didn’t have much money to reconstruct their lives. They need to have income. And that income should also be a regular income. That is why a lot of job opportunities need to be created. Only then can they overcome the stage they are now in. We saw challenges when we went to the Bengali villages. But their responses were good.
We will submit a report on what we’ve seen to Union Minister Dr. Win Myat Aye. Youths started this program. If we donate money only, that wouldn’t be a real humanitarian assistance. That is why we came.
U Ni Maung
(Hindu, Four mile ward, Maungtaw Town)
As a local Hindu, I was in the Regional Team. We provided seven food items that include rice, cooking oil, salt, pea, potato and milk powder. We went to Rakhine villages, Muslim villages and Hindu villages. We provided fairly and equally. As a local, we also helped overcome the language problem. I can speak Hindi, Bengali, Rakhine and Myanmar languages. Youth coming in this way is very good. Although they came from different places, they treated each other like siblings and worked in unity. This is the first time in my life to see such unity.
Ko Phyo Ko Ko Zaw
(Wai Lu Kyaw Foundation)
Our Wai Lu Kyaw Foundation participate in this programme as volunteer. Upon arrival here, we went to southern part of Maungtaw. We collect data and distribute food. Next we went to northern part of Maungtaw to collect data and distribute food. Language is the only difficulty. But this is resolved by the Regional Team. The trip was quite tiring for us because of the different in weather from our places of origin as well as the rough roads. We mostly went to ethnic villages. In addition to Rakhines there were Mro and Khami. There were some difficulties because this program is being done for the first time. May be it is because this is the first batch. I want more youths to participate in the next batches.
The country is joining hands with youths because they trust us. That is why youths like us should participate in this. As this is the first batch, we collect information on their requirements. The requirement of their families, houses, all requirements were collected in detail. Some asked whether they are going to receive all that they need. If we provided the information of their requirement their region and economies can be improved. That is why we collect information even if we are tired. The trip is very tiring. But it is worth it as we feel good for what we’ve done. Language barrier sometime unexpectedly create a happy and memorable incidences. Smiles on their faces when receiving the foods made us feel good. This is the happy memories that we had from this trip.