Rangoon Musicians Plan Fundraising Tour for Displaced People

By Nyein Nyein 22 May 2014

Rangoon-based musicians and activists are set to begin a tour of the country next month, performing on the streets to raise funds for people displaced by conflict in Kachin State and northern Shan State, organizers said.

A group of about 30 people—including musicians Ye Lwin and Win Maw of the Panyelan Network and Shwe Thansin Music Foundation, and the Action Times Foundation—will entertain people on the streets and in teashops as they travel from Rangoon to Muse, northern Shan State, said Thar Htwe, a member of the Panyelan Network.

The group will begin the tour on June 1, taking in Mandalay, Pyin Oo Lwin, Lashio and Muse in their week-long trip.

Ye Lwin, a veteran musician from the Panyelan Network, told The Irrawaddy that musicians will be joined by other artist like painters and poets, as well as social activists, on the fundraising tour.

“Our aim is to support those refugees as we have been doing since a couple of years ago,” he said.

“We ask for support from the people for the people in need,” he said.

Members of the Panyelan Network last year visited camps for internally displaced people in Hpakant and Mai Ja Yang, in Kachin State, as part of ongoing efforts to support the victims of Burma’s civil conflicts. The group has so far collected over 6 million individual donations from supporters in Rangoon where they entertained people this month, Thar Htwe added.

The funds will be donated to refugee camps in Muse, which are home to thousands of ethnics Shan, Palaung, Pa-O and Kachin refugees, who fled their villages due to fighting between ethnic armed groups and the government, said Ma Khaing, a member of the Action Times Foundation.

“We will go into the Man Win Gyi camp [in Kachin State], if there is no clash at the time we are there,” Thar Htwe said. “If not we will just give the donation to the camp coordinator.” Man Win Gyi is occupied by about 6,000 people who fled recent clashes between the Kachin independence Army and government troops.