In August, Myanmar faced one of the worst natural disasters in recent history, with four of its states being declared natural disaster zones by the United Nations. At least 27 people have died and over 156,000 people are displaced, many losing their homes and an entire season of crops.
Many dams and reservoirs were left overflowing, and communities around the country have been cut off from trade, affecting the lives and livelihoods of a reported one million people. Citizens started the #SaveMyanmar campaign to help victims of the flooding in various ways.
We collaborated with the Myanmar Youth Filmmaker Network at a fundraising event on International Youth Day in Yangon, where youth from across the country sold food, arts and crafts, and holding lift-a-tons to raise money. Our team sold documentary DVDs, helped take promotional pictures for people who wanted to join the campaign and shared some video editing software and apps.
I brought DVDs of our Crossroads and Papuan Voices collections and Camp Chindwin participants, filmmakers Thet Oo Maung, Lei Lei Aye and Soe Arkar Tun sold their own films. A novelist and filmmaker Mal Khaing and Myanmar film celebrity Su Aw Chel visited and joined in our event.
By the end of the event, we sold almost 60 DVDs and donated the proceeds to the Youth Day organizers. As water levels started significantly receding this month, work has begun to aid in rebuilding homes and restarting lives.