Saw Khaing Zaw Win, “I think it is time for us to change.”
Recalling the memories
I was born in the conflict zone. My home town is in Bilin township, Mon state. The fighting between the government and the armed group had already broken out before I was born. We had a bunker built underneath our house for protection. Jumping inside the bunker had become a habit for us whenever we heard gunshots and explosions. We lived in terror day and night. I have also witnessed our villagers being shot accidently when the shootings happened.
Seeing the men flee whenever they heard an army marching made me curious. All the villagers, including my father, run away into the forests and hide themselves. I was told they were terrified of being captured to become porters. With no men left in the village, the women sometimes were forced to become porters and carry army loads. They were being used as human shield to cover the army.
Settling in the camp
I was in my 3rd grade when I fled to the border with my sister to live in the camp. We had to flee because we wanted to be safe and have access to education. After finishing my high school inside the camp, I studied Youth Leadership and Management and participated in community development programmes. Living in the camp was hard as we lived off the support from the UN Agencies. I could only contact my family once every two or three years by writing a letter and delivering it with people who had plans to visit their families back in the village.
Becoming a Humanitarian Worker
After the election in 2010, I heard news about ceasefire agreements and the end of the shootings. I decided to come back because I believe peace has gained and we could be able to build a better future for the country. I chose to become a humanitarian worker because I wanted to take part in supporting my people. I came back a week ago, on 19th June and joined NRC as soon as I arrived in town.
Time to Change
I think it is time for us to change. These wars have been ongoing for a long time and I think it is time to come to an end. People are being traumatized by the results of these wars.