Save Myanmar's children!
Children love to play and daydream. They hop, run and sing all the time. Whenever I look at children, I see their hearts always full of dreams and imagination of future. Looking back, my childhood was like that too. There were difficult, poor and hard times, but I don't think I've ever stopped dreaming.
However, there are children who have the luxury of even dreaming like this. Because they have no future to dream of. So are the children of Ukraine currently at war, as well as the children of Myanmar who have become victims of the military coup.
On February 1, 2021, the Myanmar military caused a coup and detained high-ranking government officials such as Aung San Suu Kyi, a national advisor. Large-scale protests against these military coups began across Myanmar on February 6th. According to the Myanmar Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), about 5,000 people have been arrested or detained since the coup, and about 1,000 people have died.
Added to this is the lockdown due to the pandemic, accelerating the tragic situation. Due to the military coup, the public health system has collapsed, and most patients are being treated at home because they cannot go to hospitals. All of Myanmar has been closed, and most shops, including schools and government offices, have been closed.
During these times, children in Myanmar are still having a hard time. The national turmoil is not settling down, and in the meantime, children are having a heartbreaking time as they are separated from their parents and friends. Children who should be loved by their parents and play with their friends for a long time are driven to the streets against their will. And while playing in the yard, they are shot and killed.
Daycare centers and kindergartens are closed, and parents do not send their children because schools show and train children with guns. And even if they go to school, they have to be educated under the watchful eyes of soldiers with guns. Currently, it is reported that only 20% of students are attending school in Myanmar. These are mostly children of parents who support the military.
I recently participated in a job fair for orphans in Myanmar. Those who could not even go to school sat in one place and listened intently to my lecture. Personally, it broke my heart to have to teach them about painting, which is not an essential skill for their survival and life. However, my lectures had to cover general content.
But I think the most important thing for children is drawing. Because they have to keep dreaming. I decided to prepare a lecture on teaching drawing for children. Art allow children to have a variety of imaginations. I hope that they will become a guide to express the difficult situation they are in and find their own way in it.
Myungja Anna Koh