Artwork of Aung San Suu Kyi’s Son Raises Over US$1.7 Million for Myanmar People

By The Irrawaddy 6 September 2022

global fund-raising raffle with a prize of a wooden relief carving created by the son of Myanmar’s ousted leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has generated more than US$1.7 million in less than two weeks.

The raffle – known as the Upstream Project – was launched on 25 August and was designed to raise funds for Myanmar’s fight for democracy. It closed yesterday having vastly surpassed fund-raising expectations.

“It’s totally amazing. The Upstream Project has generated more than US$1.7 million,” said the organizer Pencilo on her Facebook on Tuesday.

Ko Htein Lin with his wooden relief carving. / Pencilo Facebook

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s son Kim Aris, also known as Ko Htein Lin, created the wooden relief carving as the prize for the global raffle because he wanted to contribute something meaningful for the people of Myanmar, who have been suffering under military rule since last year’s coup.

Initially, he thought his artwork would raise just a few thousand dollars. But raffle organizer Pencilio insisted that he would get US$300,000-400,000 for it.

Some 1,065 raffle tickets were sold in the first 24 hours of going on sale alone, generating US$106,500. Now, less than two weeks later, over US$1.7 million has been raised.

That sum exceeds the US$1.3 million Daw Aung San Suu Kyi received for winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, which she used to establish a health and education trust for the Myanmar people.

All the proceeds generated by the raffle will be donated to the fundraising program for Myanmar.

The country has been in social, political and economic turmoil since the Myanmar military toppled the democratically-elected government led by Suu Kyi in February 2021. The 77-year-old was arrested by the junta after the military takeover and is now being held in solitary confinement in Naypyitaw Prison.

The vast majority of Myanmar’s people have rejected military rule and armed resistance to the junta began soon after the coup. Now, over 18 months since the putsch, the regime has killed over 2,000 people and detained more than 15,000, but is still unable to control vast swathes of the country.

Having received little in the way of international assistance, Myanmar’s resistance movement relies mostly on financial donations from Myanmar people at home and abroad.

Myanmar expatriates have launched raffles and other fund-raising activities both to feed and arm the young people fighting the regime, and also to rehabilitate the communities destroyed by the raids and arson attacks of junta forces.

Ko Htein Lin is Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s youngest son and a carpenter who lives in Oxford, England.

Mother and son have been separated since 1988, apart from a few brief meetings, when Suu Kyi returned to Myanmar from England and became involved in the struggle against the previous military dictatorship. They last saw each other in 2016.

On Wednesday, 7 September, the winning raffle ticket will be drawn by Ko Htein Lin.