Thingyan Celebration

08 / 19 / 2016

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It was a hot day, but everyone had a smile on their face despite the heat. The lunch bell rang and everyone eagerly began to make their way to the dining room. The meal was to be a special one, with an ice cream treat happily served at the end.

The month of April brings about the Thingyan Festival in Myanmar. A very special celebration, Thingyan marks both the water festival and the Myanmar New Year. During this time it’s common for people to make donations and spend time meditating at monasteries. At KT Care we decided we wanted to make a donation that would have a positive effect on as many people as possible. For our Thingyan donation we choose to donate both items, such as clothes and games, as well as money to the Disabled Care Unit in Yangon.

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The money that we donated went towards a special Thingyan lunch which KT Care staff was fortunate enough to attend. The tables were full of smiling faces, enthusiastically reciting a thank you prayer before beginning the meal. We walked around the dining room and were met with smiles and waves from everyone. All were eager to pose for pictures, flashing large grins and peace signs.

Run by the Department of Social Welfare, the Disabled Care Unit (DCU) currently has 77 people with disabilities living on the grounds. With 28 females and 49 males, individuals living there are anywhere between the ages of 5-35. This coming August will mark the 10 year anniversary of the opening of the DCU.

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While we were there we spoke with the Principal of the facility, Ley Ley Myint and Jiah, a volunteer from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). Principal Myint has been in her position for almost 3 years and is well liked by the students and staff at the DCU. Her job, she says, is to help the students help themselves as much as possible. She created a board that has the picture of each student, and behind each picture is a place for them to put their toothbrushes. This system allows students to independently retrieve their own toothbrush by themselves. It may seem like a small act, but this small act helps contribute to a sense of empowerment for the students.

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Jiah, the volunteer from Korea had been at the facility for almost a year and half now. Her face lit up when speaking about the students she works with. Trained as a nurse, she had previously had no experience working with individuals with disabilities. She says this has been a great learning experience and feels incredibly fortunate to have been placed at the DCU.

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KT Care staff left the Disabled Care Unit with smiles on our faces and warm feelings in our hearts. The happiness we saw from the students was contagious, and seeing them happily enjoying their lunch and ice cream was the best way for us to begin the Thingyan holiday.

KT Care Foundation

KT Care Foundation