Daw Than Myint Aung, Founder of Thukayeikmyon is one of the amazing women featured in our upcoming documentary, Emerging Women of Burma.
She is a passionate and tireless worker and philanthropist. She has established an orphanage for children with HIV, has organized campaigns for the prevention and treatment of leprosy, and support for the elderly and for family services.
One of the projects she is involved with is the Free Funeral Service Society (FFSS). She has participated in the activities of this organization since it was founded in 2001 and is currently their Vice President.
In her recent interview with We women, Daw Than Myint Aung shared a very vivid story that gives us some insight on what motivated her to set up an organization dedicated to support the elderly.
“In some townships, there are families living on unauthorized lands. Let me give you an example. There was an 80 year old woman suffering from a paralytic stroke and her 50 year old son who lived with her. The son passed away suddenly from a stroke and Free Funeral Service Society was contacted to bury his body. As it was my duty to pick up the body, I went there with other FFSS’s volunteers. There was no one to welcome us, only people who were watching us from the distance. They came and told me to take the old lady who was left in the home. The old lady was alone and there were flies around her and on her body. She was not dead yet so we could not take her. I could not think of where to send her. If I sent her to a hospital, she needed to have a family member or a relative and to pay hospital fees. She has no family, so a hospital cannot accept her.
Homes for the aged accept old people who do not have a home; relatives or funds but there are two conditions the old person needs to fulfill. Firstly they need to be able to take care of themselves, like changing their clothing, and secondly they should have ability to feed themselves.
The old lady I am talking about is one of the many, they might be blind, or have a broken leg, and there are no places to accept them. I see such cases many times and I thought what if they were our grandparents, what if they were our parents and what if we were them, how would we feel? There should be no such cases in our society.
I was determined that these old persons should be provided with shelter, and healthcare, and should receive love till the end of their lives with dignity.
So, I wrote about it in Kalayar magazine. The readers and people from the literary community shared my articles with others and I discussed it with my colleagues and we decided to address the issue. With donations from readers and donors, we set up “See Zar Yeik Home for the ailing aged” in 2010. Old persons living near a rail road or in a hut, or being abandoned near a rubbish dump or in hospital or near someone’s houses, they are all sent to “See Zar Yeik”.”
Stay tuned for the full interview featured in the Emerging Women of Burma documentary to be released on March 14th, 2014. To donate to this campaign and support the We women foundation, please visit: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergingwomenofburma/