The Day a Pioneer of Care for the Elderly Was Honored
By Wei Yan Aung 22 April 2019
On this day 93 years ago, Daw Oo Zun, the very first Buddhist founder of homes for the aged in Myanmar, was awarded the TPS (Taing Kyo Pyi Kyo Saung), an award for promoting the welfare of the country, by the governor of British India.
Drawing inspiration from Christian homes for the aged in Yangon, the Mandalay-born silk merchant founded her first home for the aged in Mingun, Sagaing Region in 1915 with money she raised by selling her own property. The home for the aged, the first of its kind established by a Myanmar citizen, is located near the historic Mingun Bell.
Between 1915 and 1937 she founded another four such homes in Mon State’s Thaton, Bago Region’s Paungde, Yangon, and Magwe Region’s Pakokku. She herself personally took care of elderly residents of the homes.
In recognition of her endeavors to improve the public welfare, the British government presented Daw Oo Zun with documents allowing her free, lifelong first-class travel via rail or vessel anywhere in the country.
At the age of 62, she renounced the worldly life to become a nun of the Buddhist Order at the Paungde Home for the Aged.
After devoting herself to caring for the elderly for 28 years, she died at her cherished Mingun Buddhist Home for the Aged in May 1944 at the age of 76.