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Camp Chindwin: Learning from Southeast Asian Experiences in Myanmar

“I can’t believe that I attended this camp. It’s my first experience of a very creative camp”, said Pan Myat Zaw, a journalist from Mizzima of Camp Chindwin, EngageMedia’s Southeast Asia Video Camp in Bago, Myanmar.

The camp, which aimed to be a space for video activists and filmmakers from Myanmar to meet, interact and collaborate with video and filmmakers from the rest of Southeast Asia, brought nearly 40 people together in an interactive learning and collaboration environment for three days.

The participants were invited not only to learn from us, but to share their own experiences and discuss with others to understand our greatest challenges and opportunities. And to that end, the event was a great success, with the over 100 topics that were brought up.

One of the sessions I’d like to highlight is the discussion on violence against women, which was a collaborative effort  between Dhyta and myself from EngageMedia, and filmmakers Nway Zarche from Myanmar and Ilang Ilang from the Philippines. We talked about how violence against women is one the main social problems in Myanmar today, and one person pointed out that out that even if we promote women’s rights, women in Myanmar women still don’t have a basic concept of what they are. We collectively agreed that we have to conduct some activities for awareness of women’s rights in the near future.

And in that spirit of collaboration, the participants of the various sessions identified problems and suggested solutions. One of participants from Myanmar, filmmaker Thet Oo Maung said, “It’s a great camp for networking. We can gain a lot of knowledge by sharing with each other. Our region faces very similar issues and people in Myanmar can learn a lot from the experiences of other Southeast Asians. After what I’ve learnt from this camp, I have to try doing many new things.”

The favourite moment for the participants was the “Banana Dance” by Prakkash from WITNESS. As a result of him teaching us how to “dance like a banana”, a group of camp-mates produced a cute short film called, ‘Kwayy Zuu Banana’ (Thank you Banana).

Everyone agreed that this very fruitful event shouldn’t be our last chance to meet and work together, as there are still many ideas from it that need to be implemented.

With best regards from Myanmar,