Thingyan Festival

Thingyan which means “transit” is the Myanmar New Year Festival that usually occurs in middle of April. It is a Buddhist festival celebrated over a period of four to five days, culminating in the New Year. The dates of the Thingyan Festival are calculated according to Myanmar Calendar. The dates of the festival are observed as public holidays throughout Myanmar, and are part of the summer holidays at the end of the school year. This festival is also celebrated in neighboring Theravada Buddhist countries; Songkran in Thailand and Laos, Chaul Chnam Thmey in Cambodia.

People celebrate Thingyan Festival by standing on bamboo stages erected along the streets and splashing water on passersby. Powerful water pipes douse people driving by in cars. Children use water pistols to drench their friends, relatives, and anyone else in range – only monks and the elderly are safe. Most girls wear fragrant thanaka and sweet-scented yellow padauk blossoms in their hairs. Thingyan flower, the padauk only blooms one day each year during Thingyan.

People in Myanmar believes that water symbolizes the washing away of previous year’s bad luck and sins. On New Year’s Day itself, all the water-throwing ends. This day is celebrated by releasing captive fish and birds as acts of merit, and special feasts are held for monks.

On this day, we wish everyone to be safe and advise to stay at home following social distancing guidelines issued by Ministry of Health and Sports, Myanmar.

Recipient of Charity Program

Daw ( ), who lives in South Dagon Township, is a native of Bagan Nyaung Oo. She got married in Yangon and has three children. Her husband is currently unable to work because of the health condition. Since her three children are attending schools, she has to cover their school fees and expenses. Moreover, her husband’s medical expenses and the rent of the house make her struggle a lot. Daw ( ) is working in the community by doing laundry even though one of her eyes is unable to see clearly. She knew about  KT Care Foundation through her friends. She said “Thanks to the support of the KT Care Foundation, it has helped to pay for current debt and eye treatment”.


Success Story of Scholar (Hnin Wut Yee)

Hnin Wut Yee will be receiving her bachelor degree in Myanmar Studies from University of Pathein next year. She was awarded a scholarship from KT Care in 2016.  Her family makes a living by working in a Garment factory and she is also working there during her holidays to support the living expenses of her family. Before she received a scholarship from KT Care, she was worried about her education fees as her family has no extra income except from the low pay garment factory work. Luckily, she knew about KT Care Foundation’s scholarship program in 2016 and that led her to apply for the scholarship. KT Care organized a networking event with scholars in 2019 in Pathein and we got to listen to her thoughts as a KT Care scholar during the event. She told us how she was able to pursue her university education with the support of KT Care with a smile on her face. When we asked about her future dream, she replied that ‘she is determined to become a good teacher after her graduation’.

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Internship Experience Sharing

Thet Thet Hnin San has been working for KT Care Foundation since December 2019. She shared her experiences as a communications intern as follows. “I gained a lot of experiences while working as a Communication Intern here. I was still in university, and I didn’t know the rules and working procedures of office in the past. During these three months at KT Care, I learned a lot about the office procedures. I am responsible for social media and website management as well as content writing. After getting my bachelor degree in Computer Science, I want to take a Master’s Degree in Communications which I am more interested than the current field of study. So, having a chance to work as Communications Intern at KT Care was the first step. During these months, my content writing skill had improved. I had the privilege to spend three months with KT Care team and they have been very friendly and warm to me.”

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Team Member Introduction

Zaw Myo Aung from Thet Kel Thaung village of Nga Pu Taw township is a KT Care scholarship awardee and he is currently working as project assistant intern in KT Care.  In 2016, he applied for KT Care scholarship and was selected as a scholar. This year, he is about to attend third year of Myanmar Specialization in Pathein University. When KT Care opened applicants for interns on December 2019, he applied as soon as he heard the news since he has been willing to work for KT Care. As a project assistant intern, his main duty is to assist project officer in implementation of cleft lip and palate program and child protection program.


International Women’s Day

Women and girls are being treated as unequal in this world until today. They continue to be undervalued; they work more and earn less and have fewer choices; and experience multiple forms of violence at home and in public spaces. Women are not only discriminated against on the basis of gender, but on the basis of the concept of age difference. Building up the role of women is also a part of the development of a country. The year 2020 represents an unmissable opportunity to mobilize global action to achieve gender equality and human rights of all women and girls. Today, March 8 is International Women’s Day. The theme for this year is “I’m Generation Equality, Realizing Women’s Rights.” We honor the great women who are working hard in their respective fields on this International Women’s Day.

We are all equal.

Full-Moon Day of Tabaung

Full Moon Day of Tabaung in Myanmar is a Buddhist holiday that comes on the full moon of the third month of Myanmar Calendar. It is one of the important full-moon days in Myanmar since the myth has said that King Ukkalapa finished the construction of Shwedagon Pagoda and enshrined the sacred hair relics in it on this very day. The whole month of Tabaung is a time of celebration, colourful cultural events, and Buddhist devotion in Myanmar.

This is a time when Buddhist devotees will go to temples and `make merit”. It is also the time of the Shwedagon Pagoda Festival, the biggest one of the year in all of Myanmar. At the outset of this festival, there will be ceremonial offerings made to 28 different statues of Buddha. Then, there will be recitals of various Buddhist scriptures for 10 days straight. Smaller pagoda festivals such as Shwe Settaw Pagoda Festival and Alaungdaw Kathapa Pagoda Festival occur during this time too. 

Another significant event happening on the full moon day is the tradition of sand pagodas. Riverbank residents pile up the sand in the shape of a pagoda on the sandbanks. Buddhists believe that the pagodas are to symbolise the virtues of Buddha. So, they hold that worshipping at any pagodas – being made of either bricks or sand – is no less beneficial than worshipping a living Buddha. The tradition is mainly observed in Mandalay and upper regions of Myanmar.


Child protection observation visit to nunneries

On 27 February, KT Care team went to East Dagon and Mingalardon Township to conduct an observation for Child Protection program at Chan Thar Aung and San Mya Thidar nunneries. Chan Thar Aung nunnery was built in December 2013 with only 50 students. It was just a small hut in the middle of a muddy field before. Currently, there are 268 students and 10 teachers. San Mya Thidar nunnery which was founded in June 2001 by Daw Hay Mar Yee (Dhammasarita, patron) and Daw Aye Theingi (Dhammasrita, superintendent) became a place for educating children from different regions of Myanmar in 2006-2007. Initially assisted by Christian teachers, the school aimed at helping the orphans and poor young women. With the help of 35 teachers, San Mya Thidar nunnery now educates over 600 students. KT Care team discussed with the superintendents of nunneries and introduced the child protection program while conducting a survey for the needs of schools.

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Peasants’ Day

While 70% of Myanmar’s population is subsistence farmers, it is an important class for governments and politicians of the era. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, many of the Burmese farmers were left without land and became unable to cope, and on December 22, 1930, a prominent farmers’ revolution erupted in Myanmar’s history. The Peasants’ Day was founded on the Farmer’s Seminar and Peasants’ Day celebrates in order to achieve unity in the farmer community. We commend the farmers for their efforts in agriculture, which is central to Myanmar’s economy.

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Recipient of Charity Program

82 years old grandpa U( ) lives in one of the unlegal wards in South Okkalapa Township. His wife died recently and he is continuing the job of selling boiled beans that his wife used to do before she died to earn his living. He lived in a village from Kayan township when he was young and later moved to Yangon. Since that day, he lost contact with all the relatives and family members. He doesn’t have any children as well, so he has no other than himself to depend on. Although he is healthy, he is not as energetic as in his young ages. The house he is living in now is also unsafe so he wants to repair the house and he also needs medical support. These are the reasons why he had applied to KT Care’s Charity Program. With the financial support of KT Care, he feels glad that his current difficulties will soon be solved.