Socialt liv i Foundation for Change / Social life in FFC

Derrick er frivillig i foundation for change i Myanmar. Her fortæller han (på engelsk) om, hvordan det er at være frivillig i myanmar.

Derrick is volunteer in Foundation for Change (FFC) in Myanmar. In this blog post he is writing about how it is to be a volunteer in FFC.

Most of you, the readers of this blog, have already known me as a funny guy at Foundation for change (FFC), who is into music so bad. In addition, you may notice that I spend most of my time reading, listening to music and singing in the Youth hub of FFC.

My full name is Saw Derrick, and I go for Derrick. Recently, I have become one of the Project Group members of FFC and just turned to 20 years of age. So sad. Just kidding. Originally, I am from a city named Pathein, four-hour’ drive to Yangon, and I am the biggest son in my family but I have two sisters who were born before I was.

Including this year, I have been participating in FFC for 2 years at least. Let me tell you one interesting thing about FFC.

FFC is a place where decision making is in the hands of authorized youths selected once a year by FFC volunteers and they are responsible for planning the whole year program of FFC and assisting social activity group, conversation club group and trainer group of FFC in order to fulfil the year program successfully.

It means that FFC is for the youth by the youth. Therefore, most of ownership is handed over youths in FFC and they are able to build up their skills and dreams, and search for their most possible potentials.

By the blessing of God, I have found my two possible potentials while taking part in the activities organized by FFC and I really want to say “thanks God for introducing me with FFC.” Now I 100% believe that I could be a great public speaker and trainer, as well as a successful singer in the future. Why am I so sure of that? I am sure of that because not only I am the one who believes that but also my friends from FFC do the same way like I do.

After nearly every time I had stood up and done presentations in front of my friends, the words which came out of their mouths were “good job boys”, “excellent”, “what a fascinating presentation you did” and so on.

I am also capable of conducting trainings on public speaking and youth leadership because I was trained by Majken and Jens, who are FFC trainers from Denmark, to become a trainer and they gave me a chance to start giving training. Making me better, I got an opportunity to join training of trainers program organized by FFC. And also, I can feel that I am regraded by my FFC friends as a singer and composer who could be successful in the future. What a nice living place I inhabit.

The reason why I am saying these is that I want you to know that it would be extremely difficult to reach your full potential if you are not in a supportive environment. You even would not know what possible potentials you have got. I am not convincing you to come and participate at FFC.

I just want to give you a message that you should be surrounded by supportive people and environment in order to find and reach your potential and you should be a good supporter for your brother, sisters, friends and so on in order to make your living environment enjoyable for other people.

Now I am in a place where young people support to each other, and I am being surrounded by friends who will never be jealous of me but willing to help me to reach my full potential.

Når religion bliver til tro

Dialog mellem religioner – Er det ‘a piece of cake’? om at tage dialog-elevatoren fra hovedet til hjertet.

Af Helle Bentsen Laursen, deltager på Dialogrejsen til Myanmar, vinter 2017

Gyldne pagoder, trykkende trafik og et mylder af mennesker er nok starten på mange rejsefortællinger fra besøget i The Golden Land. Og Myanmar er alt dette og meget mere, men det er ikke her, at min rejseoplevelse tager sit udgangspunkt.

I en stor sal langt ude på landet sidder en stor gruppe unge mennesker. Nogen kender hinanden godt, mens andre ikke har kendt hinanden i mere end godt et døgn. Jeg er selv en af dem. Folk griner, og der bliver danset, sunget og leget. Jeg sidder med følelsen af, at verden går op i en højere enhed, og at der skal så forbløffende lidt til. Men at denne lille bitte smule er så overordentligt svær at huske på i hverdagen.

I løbet af dagen har den store gruppe unge mennesker, som består af danskere og myanmesere – af kristne, buddhister og muslimer – været i dialog med hinanden om tro: Interfaith dialogue. Inden dagens program sad jeg selv med følelsen af, at det ville blive en smal sag: Jeg læser religion til daglig, har en bred viden om de forskellige religioner, og er vant til at diskutere religion gennem mit engagement i KFUM & KFUK og DKG. Interfaith Dialogue – piece of cake!

Men jeg tog fejl! Ligeså svigende svært, det kan føles, når man må erkende sit fejltagelse, lige så fantastisk og meningsfyldt føles det, når man griner en aften på landet i Myanmar og glemmer, at man griner sammen med kristne, muslimer, buddhister – danskere og myanmesere. Når man kun lægger mærke til, at man griner sammen med mennesker.

Da jeg ligger i min seng om aftenen, godt beskyttet for frøer og andet kryb af min prinsessehimmel af et myggenet, tænker jeg tilbage på de ting, som har rykket sig inde i mig i løbet af blot en enkelt dag.

Når man læser religionsvidenskab til hverdag, tænker og taler man utrolig meget fra sit hoved: Hvad har jeg lært og læst? Årstal og fakta! Men som jeg ligger der i det varme mørke kan jeg mærke mit hjerte, for det er det, som jeg har brugt i dialogen. Jeg har oplevet vigtigheden i at tale fra mit hjerte, når jeg taler med andre om tro. For når man taler om tro, så bliver tal og fakta underordnet til fordel for den mening, som tro kan give ens tilværelse.

Derfor skal der herfra lyde en opfordring til alle om at tage dialog-elevatoren fra hovedet til hjertet. Når man sidder i Myanmar og oplever, hvordan buddhister og muslimer, som flere steder i landet ligger i blodig konflikt med hinanden, får øjnene op for hinanden som mennesker i stedet for repræsentanter for den anden religion, så går verden op i en højere enhed. Man kan mærke et lille naivt håb for en bedre verden spire inde i sig selv.

Tilbage i kolde Danmark har jeg igen snuden solidt plantet i de videnskabelige og teoretiske forklaringer på religion og menneskets behov for den. Dog er jeg en oplevelse rigere: At religion giver ekstra meget mening, når den bliver til tro.

En rejse, hvor jeg gror

Foundation for CHange i Myanmar har ansat to deltidsmedarbejdere. Den ene er Ei Yupar Maung, der her skriver om sit nye job.

Greetings from Yangon. I am Ei Yupar Maung and I am the Administrative Coordinator of Foundation for Change (FFC) Myanmar. I am 21 years old and a fresh graduate from the National Management Degree College, with a Bachelor degree in Business Management. You can say that I’m new to FFC as I have only been working under FFC for 1 month and a half.

So, as for my story in FFC, I’ve been introduced to FFC by one of my good friends, Mindy who is also the chairperson of the Project Group. I’ve been told that FFC is an organization that is conducting youth empowerment projects in Myanmar and that is mainly composed with the youth volunteers.

As I was looking for a job after coming back from a 52-day Youth Exchange Program, I felt like the job position for the Administrative Coordinator is very interesting and perfect for me. Therefore, I decided to give it a try and submitted my CV.

After I have been notified that I am chosen to be the Administrative Coordinator, I was thrilled to become part of FFC. Because after having interviews with the members of FFC, I have expected that this position can be a good opportunity to grow myself, both career wise and personality wise as FFC is an organization that is empowering youths and creating connections with youths from various backgrounds. And guess what, I am totally right about my feeling.

Working at FFC is definitely different from other working environments. First of all, it’s a nonprofit organization which means that it doesn’t focus on making profits, it focuses on empowering youth and connecting with youths. Therefore, the working environment is totally different from the ones at the profit organizations.

Instead of dealing with numbers and customers, here at FFC, I have to deal with the youths who are interested in creating a better society. By dealing with these youths, I feel inspired by their enthusiastic minds.

Second, being one of the only two staff members of FFC, I have no supervisor or boss who will order me to get my things done which means that I have to rely on my own sense of responsibility.

Having worked as the Administrative Coordinator for 1 month and a half, I think I have developed better sense of responsibility towards my job which I think is a great thing for my career life. Another great point of working here is that as I’m working here as a part-time administrator, I can also pursue my further study in academic field. So, working here helps me to grow in many different aspects and also help me to gain working experiences. What can I ask for more?

FFC’s goal is to empower youths and I think FFC is doing a very good job in attaining in that goal by conducting various activities and projects such as Volunteer Youth Fund, Concept trainings, and Conversation clubs.

Among these, I like the idea of Volunteer Youth Fund in particular. The idea of Volunteer Youth Fund (VYF) is to assist the youth volunteers in turning their ideas into a real project by funding them with a maximum amount of 600$. The reason why I particularly like this idea is that youth volunteers usually have a lot of great ideas in contributing the society but they often face with financial problems which prevent them from making those ideas happen.

Now, with the VYF, young volunteers can freely build projects of their own without having to worry about the financial aspects. And as the administrative coordinator of FFC, I would like to encourage more and more youths in Myanmar to apply for VYF and also other youths to come and  join our activities so that they can be part of this amazing growth journey too.

Debating one moment, giggling the next

Mindy er nyvalgt i Foundation for Changes projektgruppe. Her fortæller hun om, hvorfor hun har valgt at være frivilligt, og hvad FFC har givet hende. Læs med herunder. Blogindlægget er på engelsk.

By: Myo Su Aye / Mindy – Coordinator for Conversation Club and Chairperson of Foundation for Change’s Project Group 2017.

I am volunteering as the coordinator of the Foundation for Change’s (FFC) Conversation Club and recently became chairperson of the project group. As coordinator for Conversation Club I have to make sure the club’s activities are conducted smoothly, we make plans for the club activities and most importantly help the facilitators. Choosing the right topic is kind of difficult because we have to choose the one that is attractive enough as well as compatible with the facilitator and the audience. Every week, we have active conversations that are thrilling for me as I get to meet new friends, share opinions, and listen to the experiences that unfold then.

I joined the project group, because I wanted more volunteer experience and to contribute more to FFC’s activities. And of course, I want myself to be a change-maker, so FFC is the right place for me. For me, volunteering is devoting my time and energy for the sake of others, giving out a helping hand with best what I can offer. Also, it is like self-development because I gain knowledge and experiences which are useful in my life. Moreover, I really appreciate the participatory method used in workshops because it really enhanced my presentation and critical thinking skills.

I joined FFC in October 2016 and since then I have been actively participating in FFC activities such as workshops and Exchange camp. Although I have joined workshops here and there, the Exchange camp was my very first one. As I imagined, the camp was really fun and friendly participants made the camp more like home. What I really like about being around FFC volunteers is that, no matter how we debate (quarrel) during the workshops at the Exchange camp, no one held the grudge and we would be giggling again next minute.

Mindy (to the far right) and other volunteers at the talent show, FFC Exchange program December 2016

My must unforgettable experience from the Exchange camp would be the talent show. We had only little amount of time (probably because we didn’t want to spare our break time, chatting and eating snacks is important too) and had to make the ends meet in 45 minutes for the talent show. My team decided to make a “talent show” as the talent and I performed the song named “Bo Aung Din” in a funny way. Of course, without rehearsing and having any kind of experience, I was really nervous to perform on the stage, but I went as crazy as I could. The result was satisfying as my friends commented how funny I looked on the stage.

Everyday back at the camp was joyful plus everyone seemed to have extra energy to actively participate in camp activities and workshops. From those, I had learned what volunteering really is and how youths can contribute positively to the society.

Stepping into the world of trainers with Foundation for Change

Yee Shin THant er frivillig i Foundation for Change, hvor hun bl.a. har deltaget i “training of Trainers”. her fortæller hun om, hvordan hun både har fået modet til at tale foran sin klasse, og hvordan hun har fået en ny familie i Foundation for Change.

Yee Shin Thant is a volunteer in Foundation for Change and has among other participated in the Training of Trainers (ToT). Here she tells about how she got the courage to speak in front of others and how she fells she has got a new family in Foundation for Change.

My name is Yee Shin Thant. I am studying English Specialization at University of Yangon. I am a teenager who has a strong passion for volunteerism. I always wish to share with people whoever they are. I love to support the community as much as I can, even if it may be just a little bit. Under the control of the atmosphere I was raised, I couldn’t do anything about volunteerism. I just lived for myself from dawn to dusk and I am the one who was satisfied just by entering charity organizations and donated things according the needs of local people.

One day, one of my best friends sent me a message. It was about an event calling for new Youth Volunteers and she asked me if I would like to join it. Without thinking too much about it, without knowing where the event was going to be held, and without having heard the name of the organization, I agreed to attend that event. I am very thankful to my friend for taking me there as well as me myself for making the best decision ever.

I can do more than I thought

As soon as I got there, I felt the warm atmosphere because the former members are very friendly and on that day, I learnt about Foundation for Change (FFC) (its background, vision and goals) and how it is working for the youths (through trainings, volunteer projects and exchange programs). Among the sub-group; Trainer, Social activity, Conversation Club, and PR & Communication, I became a member of both Trainer and Conversation Club. Here, I want to share my experiences form the training called Training of Trainers (ToT).

The ToT training reminded me of what I can do as a youth for my surroundings and community. It showed me that I can do more than I thought, and it pointed out the ethical living as a youth. I can apply the experiences I got from the training both in trainings and in reality. I guarantee the ToT training is a treasure for every youth as it is producing more precious youth volunteers, who will be the foundation of the future. I also would like to encourage youths to be a part of Foundation for Change volunteers and to participate in the empowering youth activities.

All together 28 youths joined ToT. All the former FFC members welcome us warmly and no one can know who new ones are if they see from outsiders’ views. Starting from the first night we arrived, I felt like I was not the old Yee Shin Thant who was shy and quiet. It was because of all my friends from FFC. They changed me to the new one who is active, open and friendly.

Going into the trainer world

We did exercises and had a lot of fun through getting-to-know-games and team building games from which I could realize what kind of person I am. I found out my weaknesses and strengths through these games and learnt so much knowledge through the lesson learnings sessions after the games. I didn’t know that we can get life lessons even from just small matters we are doing unconsciously or games.

I became familiar with several skills such as observation, presentation, questioning, feedback, improvisation, and summarizing skills, which have helped me a lot going into the trainer world. For instance, I began to notice what kind of questions I should ask to the participants; open or closed ones.

To say the truth, I was very bad at summarizing before the ToT, and so I always took the opening parts whenever I had to do presentations. After ToT training, I got confident to be the last speaker who has the responsibility to sum up all the content as I had learned about what should be included in summarizing and how to summarize. Based on these skills, I could analyze my participants and prepare effective activities and think of teaching methods.

Different is not necessarily difficult

Through the whole training, we discussed a lot for each session in many ways; open discussions, closed discussions, etc. I feel grateful to my friends for their active participation and discussing the lessons very seriously without tiring. In the past, I didn’t think about something very seriously and I didn’t try to think what other people are thinking. After the training, I did improve my critical thinking from the discussions and I could see the different personal glasses and also got a lesson not to judge only by my point of view as everything might have its own reason and solutions.

I realized the difference between the attitudes towards “Difficult” and “Different”. I used to think things were difficult for me to complete when I face with some obstacles. However, after ToT training, I starting thinking things in the view of “Different” not from the “Difficult” point of view. I really had a precious time with my lovely FFC friends in each and every session of ToT training.

Understanding the participants

One of the most enjoyable memories I got is learning about Adult Learning Style in which I could learn what kind of trainer I am. I learned about Keep-Add-Drop and Finger Models (feedback tools), which reminds me of things I need to adapt, avoid, keep doing, and things I am good at. We learned about the performance curve and how to motivate participants, which made me realize the situation of the participants during trainings and how I should change my training schedule according the participants. These lessons also made me improve my improvisation skills.

I never thought of the difference between participants even within a single training. During a live session at the ToT, I was given a mission to be a joker. This was a challenge both for me and for my trainer friends. Jokers in the trainings can delay the trainings or make other participants annoyed or disappointed, and through this session I got lessons on how to handle these kinds of situations.

Action Track also plays an important part in the training. I had to give training to a group of people at the end of ToT training. It was my first training ever and I was very nervous. I had to practice a lot before the action track. My friends from FFC motivated me telling me even they felt the same way. I am thankful to my friends because the action track finished successfully. I felt how helpful, friendly, and warm my friends are during the whole ToT. Especially, during live sessions and action track.

I felt like I got a new family

I could improve my communication skill not only because of the training but also because of the activities we did after the training time. Some of my friends played guitar untiringly and we all sang together happily, played games together very heartily though we had already been in the training for whole day. We shared our life experiences, ghost stories and funny things and we all laughed out loud together. These moments are the ones that tied our hearts and made us more and more familiar. I felt like I got a new family.

I’ve attended many trainings and workshops before. At that time, I didn’t know how much effort the trainers or facilitators need to put into the trainings and workshops, and how difficult it is to become a good facilitator. After attending ToT, planning, and experiencing the live sessions and action track, I realized what it involves to be a trainer or facilitator; the preparations, needs, attitudes, goals, and the hard work.

Seeing the trainers, I realized what I need to improve such as communication and presentation skill, what I should cultivate such as the habit of reading, being frank, and what I should quit doing for instance staying alone and being silent. I have changed a lot after ToT training both habitually and psychologically. I became active speaker in my classes and I got a lot of self-motivation from this training.

Dagsreportage fra Myanmar – Vi “mingla-bar”

Af Martin Christensen, Hjerm, rejsedeltager på TaskForce oktober 2016.

Den 16/10/2016

Hvis du tror ris er ris, kan jeg informere dig om, at det er det ikke.
Morgenmad, middagsmad og aftensmad – du kan altid få ris. Vi startede dagen med morgenmad hos en rigtig venlig mor og hendes børn. Hun havde en bod ved 15”th Street i centrum af Yangon. Vi bestilte forskellige retter, men alle med ris. De gjorde det bedste, jeg har prøvet for at tilfredsstille os. Vi fik sat borde sammen og jeg ville gerne hjælpe, men de ville meget gerne gøre det. Jeg fik at vide, at det var en form for værdighed. Generelt er møblerne dernede meget små Mange steder på gaderne har de plasticsæt som vi i Danmark bruger til børn (meget hyggeligt). Havde man en taske fik man også en stol til den.
Jeg havde aldrig før fået ris til morgenmad, så jeg var skeptisk, men det overraskede mig. Jeg fik barbecue-pork til risene og blev positivt overrasket og spiste op.
Vi spiste alle 13 fra taskforce-gruppen sammen. Så for at gøre det nemt betalte vi sammen. Vi samlede pengene sammen og vi skulle betale 13000 Kyat. Det er meget billigt for så god mad.
Vi gav sønnen på ca. 6 år, pengene og vi vedlagde 2000 Kyat som drikkepenge. Vi troede de ville blive glade, men de ville ikke have pengene. De gik først med pengestakken, men efter at have talt dem, kom datteren tilbage med drikkepengene. De ville ikke have dem. Det var underligt – det er vi ikke vant til som danskere, hvilket får mig til at tænke på et sted vi købte vand, hvor sælgeren kun havde 6 flasker kolde vand og vi fik resten kølige. Her gav han os en del rabat på de kølige vand fordi de ikke var kolde nok. Det er det mest imødekommende folkefærd og meget betænksomme folkefærd jeg har mødt indtil videre i mit 19-årige liv.

Dagen startede med, at vi skulle møde projektets Youth Leaders i Myanmar. Det er lederne for de frivillige i Myanmar som rådgiver og er planlægningskoordinatorer. Det også dem, som står for at uddele penge til gode projekter. Pengene fra projektet Minglabar Myanmar eller Foundation for chance(FFC). Vi mødte to piger og en dreng, det var super inspirerede og motiveret. Drengen Jerrymayer var 21 år og han var meget aktiv med igangsættelse af workshops med det udgangspunkt at organisere og aktivere de unge i projektet. Pigen, May, er en klassisk, burmesisk, kvik og ung dame med humør. Hun var herlig, hun havde briller og hun elskede at snakke og lære nyt. Hun lærte os en masse burmesisk sprog, hvilket medførte, at jeg gik rundt og sagde Mingalabar samt te ta. Hvilket betød goddag og farvel. Hun fortalte en masse historier om landet. May havde mødt vores rejseleder før og hun lavede sjov med ham og grinede af måden han bandt sin longhi på. Det var rart at se, at der var skabt nogle bånd.

Min rejsemakker og jeg var ude at gå efter en god taxatur i det indre Yangon. Turen vi kørte var ikke længere end en strækning tilsvarende en tur fra Hjerm til Viborg. Forskellen er bare, at turen tog over 2 timer. Vi havde lige besøgt YMCA’s hovedkvarter i Myanmar. Vi tog med taxaen til busstationen. Da vi kom frem til busstation skulle vi skifte og vi var kommet ”lidt ud på landet” selvom der  stadig var et mylder af liv. Men det var i et område, hvor de ikke var vant til turisme. Vi havde 1,5 time inden vi skulle afsted fra busstation, så vi var 3 fra rejsegruppen, som ville se os lidt omkring. Vi gik ikke langt inden vi blev stoppet af 3 mænd,som ville snakke med os. De ønskede også billeder af os sammen med ham. Manden, som var buschauffør, tyggede løs på noget som fungerer som cigaretter, men har en smag og farver vildt rød, så hele hans mund var rød og han duftede af denne kraftige lugt af tang og en stærk lugt af Nikotin. Han komplimenterede mit tøjvalg og fortalte mig, at jeg gjorde det rigtigt. Han var glad og meget imødekommende.

Vi gik tilbage til rejsegruppen, hvor vi snakkede og spiste lidt snacks. Vores rejseleder, Mathias Norden Larsen, havde købte solsikkekerner. Det var ret sjovt, de var i skal og jeg brugte en del tid på at åbne dem. Der gik en del tid på at få dem op og spise dem. Det satte flere tanker igang. Jeg kunne lige pludselig bedre forstå, at det brød jeg havde set ikke var som Skagenslapper hjemme i det travle Danmark. Her i Myanmar giver man sig tid til at sætte sig ned og giver sig tid til at gøre det ordenligt. Ventetiden var lang og jeg trængte til at bevæge mig inden den lange 9 timers bustur mod Mandalay, derfor ville Jeppe Pilgaard og jeg gå ud at købe os en sodavand til turen. Vi gik lidt ind i den lille by. Her stoppede folk op og gloede på os halvkogte blege danskere. Det var fullmoonnight, en tradition som alle buddhisterne fejrer med fyrværkeri og stearinlys over alt i gaderne, og folk vandrede mod pagoderne til bøn. Vi gik ind på et lille spisested for at købe disse colaer, og vi var kommet til et sted hvor engelsk ikke var en selvfølge længere. Vi blev betjent og de ville frygtelig gerne have os til at sidde, men vi ville jo gerne have colaerne med i bussen, så jeg prøvede at lave fagter til ham (som gæt og grimasser). Jeg sagde Cola to-go, og lod som om jeg løb på stedet, så grinte hele restauranten af os. Pludselig var de 4 til at betjene os. En af dem kunne en smule engelsk og han var ved at dø af grin, og råbte running cola. Vi betalte 1500 Kyat (som er ca 7.50 kr).
Vi gik tilbage, hoppede i bussen og kørte afsted mod Mandalay.

Myanmar in Denmark – Living and studying in the happiest country in the world

Students of Silkeborg Højskole on their Tour de Denmark November 2016. Lu Maw Naing to the right and Naw Briana and Ei Zin May Phoo in the middle of the group.

Ei zin May Phoo fra Myanmar er i Danmark et halvt år, hvor hun går på Silkeborg Højskole. Læs med her, hvor hun på engelsk beskriver, hvordan hun oplever Danmark.
//
Ei Zin May Phoo from Myanmar is in Denmark for half a year, where she attends a course at Silkeborg Højskole. Read her blog post about how she sees Danmark.

By Ei Zin May Phoo

By the grace of God, Lu Maw Naing (YMCA), Naw Briana (YWCA) and I, Ei Zin May Phoo, (Shalom Foundation) got the chance to study at Silkeborg Højskole in Denmark. The school is like a boarding school where all students study, eat, play, and have fun together. It is such a great pleasure for us being together with 11 different nationalities and learn about their cultures and traditions.

We are together with people from different countries and so we have different ideas, ways of thinking, norms, and standards. We learned how to accept different points of views and how to work together with different people. We went to the FDF senior course and learned how volunteers were working hard to make a better society. I believe, I have changed a lot in good ways because of the trip. I am becoming more patience, getting better at team work, and more able to accept different opinions and thoughts. I have become more optimistic and can accept others’ culture (Although some cultures are totally upside down with our cultures). For young people, it is really nice and great being together with other young people in the same place for four months. We fight, argue, work together, laugh together, and above all, we learn from each other. We care about each other and share responsibilities. We become more mature and can solve the obstacles and problems very calmly.

Youth Empowerment and youth involvement

We study Youth Empowerment as our main subject, which is the only subject in English. In addition, we can choose optional subjects and existential subjects. I chose to study Photo, Graphic, outdoor light, and Danish for international as my optional subjects; and Intercultural learning and Game theory as my existential subjects. In the optional subjects like Intercultural Learning, Game Theory and Danish for Internationals we are mainly international students. When I chose the subjects, I chose the ones I could use back in Myanmar. For some subjects, even though I like the them, it is not possible to get the materials in Myanmar. In those situations, I needed to think about another subject I like second most.

Most of the time, we are together with our main subject group. In the group, we create projects, go to the FDF camps, and play games. We learn about group dynamics: How different individual can work together as a group, Leadership skills: How to lead and how to follow, Social capital: The glue that holds the society together, How volunteering and youth organizations benefit the society, and Youth Participation, which focusses on the different levels young people can get involved in decision making processes. Also, we had a visitor from the Danish Youth Council (DUF), who taught us how DUF works in Denmark.

We took part in FDF senior course, where we talked with the leaders from FDF and learned how they manage camps. Finally, we created an international evening, where everyone could enjoy traditional music, dance, food, and Skype with the different people from different countries.

Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world with cold weather and beautiful nature. Lu Maw Naing, Naw Briana, and I easily got used to of everything here – except for the food, ha ha (Myanmar people eat rice every day, but the Danish people eat bread every day). If you want to know about other countries, you can google them or read about them in books, but nothing can make you understand countries and their culture better than staying in that country and being together with the people from that country. This is want to share with you.

Lu Maw Naing, Naw Briana, and Ei Zin May Phoo trying canoeing for the first time. 

Whether you are raised in Denmark or Myanmar

In Denmark, there is no difference in living standards between the big cities and the country side. Everyone has the same facilities. In Denmark, most of the young people are really fond of volunteering. They spend their free time being volunteers.  They also love travelling, and almost all young people travel around the world when they are 19 or 20 years old, often after they finish high school. Denmark is also one of the only countries where you can get paid when you go to university. The education system is excellent. In schools and universities in Denmark you can discuss your opinions and ask questions to your teachers. You don’t need to say “Yes” whenever the older people speak.

Young people are having fun and drinking when they think that it is time for them to relax. They can control themselves and never get drunk all the time. They pay full attention when it comes to work. They are punctual, and you can rely on them when they promise you that they will do something for you.

Lu Maw Naing and Ei Zin May Phoo at a Christmas party with friends from Silkeborg Højskole

Whether we were born and raised in Myanmar or Denmark, we all have the same talents and abilities to make our society better. What make us different is the way we are brought up and the supports we are given. Most parents in Denmark are ready to support their children in what they are good at, while most parents in Myanmar are directing us to do what they want us to do. As a result, young people from Denmark know where they want to go in an early age, while we are wondering about where we should be. The way Danish parents nurture their children makes them independent and confident young people. Most of them know what they want to be and get the chance to work towards their goals.

Thank you so much

School finishes in December, and then we will go back to Myanmar. I came to Denmark as a representative from my organization, Shalom Foundation. When I go back, I will go back to my organization and apply what I have learned in Denmark. I want to be a part of building peace in my country. I will also be at Foundation for Change in my free time and contribute what I have got to my fellow young people.

We are so glad that we are here, and we hope we can apply what we have learned here when we go back to our home country. Thank you so much to everyone who gave us a chance to explore the world.

Minglabar Myanmar som case

Minglabar Myanmar er ikke bare et projekt, der bliver lagt mærke til i FDF og KFUM og KFUK. I efteråret har DUF (Dansk Ungdoms Fællesråd) sendt en længere rapport til Udenrigsministeriet (UM)for at argumentere for hvordan støttekronerne bruges. Her blev Minglabar Myanmar brugt til at vise hvordan internationalt engagement kan bruges i formidling og aktiviteter hjemme i Danmark også. Herunder følger case-beskrivelsen fra DUF til UM:

jeremiahmayfolkemøde

Jeremiah og May, ungeledere fra Myanmar i Minglabar Myanmar gennem DUF, på Ungdommens Folkemøde i september.

 

Myanmarprojekt skaber aktiviteter lokalt i FDF og KFUM og KFUK 

FDF og KFUM og KFUK har forenet kræfterne i det store projekt ”Minglabar Myanmar – Fundament for Forandring”, som støtter frivillige unge i at engagere sig i Myanmars civilsamfund. Gennem projektet får frivillige i Myanmar nye kvalifikationer og motiveres til at støtte landets demokratiske udvikling. For de danske foreninger er de internationale resultater dog kun ét af to ben i projektet. For partnerskabet giver i lige så høj grad værdi både lokalt og nationalt for de to foreninger, fortæller Andreas Gammelgaard, der er formand for projektet i FDF:

”Det skaber stor værdi for vores forening og giver os større berettigelse. Vi er engagerede i de lokalsamfund, vi er en del af rundt omkring i Danmark, men vi er også engagerede i den verden, vi er en del af. Vi kan videregive vores erfaringer med foreningsarbejde til unge i Myanmar, men med partnerskabet lærer vi også enormt meget selv.”

Årlige udvekslinger mellem frivillige i henholdsvis Danmark og Myanmar bidrager til det omfattende oplysningsarbejde. Desuden har foreningerne udviklet 25 aktivitetskasser, som kan udlånes af lokalforeninger og kredse i hele Danmark. Kasserne indeholder både ting fra Myanmar og beskrivelser af aktiviteter fra og om Myanmar med vedledninger til at engagere forskellige aldersgrupper. Også flere regionale og nationale arrangementer i 2015, så som kurser målrettet de 15 til 18-årige i FDF og lederkurser i begge foreninger, har haft projektet som tema med undervisning i, hvordan projektet formidles til børn og unge. På den måde engageres børn og unge løbende i samtaler om, hvordan det er at leve et andet sted i verden, og hvorfor det er vigtigt at støtte udviklingen af et frivilligt foreningsliv i Myanmar og udviklingen af det nye demokrati.

”Med vores partnere i Myanmar lærer vi sammen på tværs af landegrænser om det gode lederskab, projektplanlægning og afvikling af aktiviteter for børn og unge. Det giver en helt særlig oplevelse af fælleskab. Samtidig bliver vi nødt til at reflektere over vores værdier, og hvad det egentlig vil sige at være frivillig og engageret. Det styrker vores organisationsfortælling og udvikler vores forening,” fortæller Andreas Gammelgaard.

Youth Leader Jeremiah – om udfordringer ved at være ung i Myanmar

Young and Century Challenges in Myanmar
My country, Myanmar, is a developing country that is in the process to become a peaceful democracy. The process is moving slowly and Myanmar is still quite far from reaching the goal. One of the main problems is the fact that locals really don’t understand what is democracy, yet.
In the following, I will describe some of my opinions about the main problems for the youth in my country. If the youth did a group discussion about the problems and challenges that the youth in Myanmar faces, there could be many ideas and opinion of how to change our lives. The youth has never had this opportunity, so we really don’t know which opinions and ideas we share.
Now, Daw* Aung San Su Kyi is trying to change the education system and empower youth. We all believe in her, but she is not a Goddess that can change Myanmar by herself. Everyone has to participate, but not everyone does, because they don’t know how. People from Myanmar are waiting for change and blame the government when nothing happens. Not many of them take action themselves. Our Foundation for Change (FFC) is trying to especially empower young people who want to be leaders and make a change in Myanmar.

*Daw is something you call people to show respect (for women “Daw” and “U” for men).

<em>Saw Jeremiah, 20 år, kristen, fra Pathein, bor nu i Yangon
Saw Jeremiah, 20 år, kristen, fra Pathein, bor nu i Yangon 

My name is Saw Jeremiah and I am 20 years old. Saw (for male) represent Karen ethnic group in Myanmar. I have finished high school and studied History through distant education at Pathein University. The level of education is very normal in Pathein. I was born in Pathein Township, the country side of Myanmar (the Delta region) where a lot of Karen people and Burmese live mixed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeremiah spiller meget fodbold. Det er hans måde at koble fra efter en travl dag
Jeremiah spiller meget fodbold. Det er hans måde at koble fra efter en travl dag

People from Pathein are very simple and very respectful to their religion – mostly Christians and Buddhist live in this region – and they are kind of conservators of the religion, culture, and tradition. As I am a 90s kid, I was not influenced by the technology that are popular nowadays until 2013, because we were raised at underdevelopment period. I was raised up in a Christian community, which is almost disconnected from the country situation, as if politics is not our business. I used to learn just how to worship the Lord, to follow the Christ ways and to maintain my language (Karen) and culture.

<em>Jeremiah fejrer Karen nytår med vennerne, iført traditionelt Karen tøj
Jeremiah fejre Karen nytår med vennerne iført traditionelt Karen tøj

 

 

My parents are also raised in a Christian based society, though my father less than my mothers. My father is half Buddhism because of his father. My mother finished her school with Theology and she became a missionary but she is retired now. My father works as a church keeper and also as a writer, writing religious articles in a Christian based magazine. But now, they just live a very simple as I planned to do when I get older.
When I was 16 years old, I joined YMCA in Pathein, by supporting and empowering of YMCA I changed a lot, especially my mind set. It is never good to stay the same without changing. I have to change myself first, then I can change the society. That’s why I try to change myself to be more educated, but feel sometimes I am in trouble because I don’t have enough basic education or maybe I’ve don’t try hard enough. Last year, I moved to Yangon to study and my culture view also changed. For example, I used to think girls who wear short skirts and hang out at night were sex workers, because that is what I’ve learn from my society in Pathein. Now, I realize that being good does not depend on wearing traditional clothes. It only depends on how they behave. I am changing a lot and I am becoming more open minded. And in the future, I am probably going to change more and more, but dream about a simple life in Pathein will stay the same.

<em>Jeremiah og en veninde til hendes graduation for Community Leadership training iført traditionalt Karen beklædning</em>
Jeremiah og en veninde til hendes graduation for Community Leadership training iført traditionalt Karen beklædning

But this – the life of Jeremiah – is not what I want to talk about today. Instead, I want to express my opinion about what problems the youth in Myanmar are facing nowadays. The topics I would like to talk about in this post are as followed:
1) The education system
2) The influence of the social media
3) Unsafe and insecure
4) The conservative people of Myanmar
At first, I just want to make it clear that the following is not the ending truth. It is my opinion only, which is based on my experiences and impressions from life in Pathein and Yangon.

The Education system
In my opinion, one of the main problems is the education system. For parents, grades are important. Parents force their children to get very high grades in school, so they can become doctors or engineers, and in that way, they will earn more money when they graduate. The students aren’t learning anything about critical thinking or how to express one’s opinion.So even though some young people have an education, they won’t gain from it inlife. And after theirgraduation, they will focus on doing something that makes it possible for them to take care of their families. This is normal in our society.
Both the students and the parents respect the teachers, but mostly they fear the teachers.The norm is that the teacher is always right. The opinions, views, and perspectives the teacher presents andtalks about are maybe fine, but they’re not ours. And if we don’t do it the way the teacher thinks is the best, we get scolded and it will have a bad influence on our grades. That’s why the students never dare to express their opinion or ask if they don’t understand. Most of the time, we don’t understand what we are taught, we just memorize it. This kind of education has a very bad influence on our generation because it is killing the creativity of young people.

The social media influence
In early 2013, Myanmar was introduced to the smart phone. Now the smart phones are almost everywhere and everyone has one.
In my point of view, theyoung are damaged by the smart phones and they have become addicted to Facebook and others social media. On social media, they see something and they want to try in real life. For example, some found a sex page onsocial media,and they tried before they were adults, which could lead to teenage pregnancy and early marriage. Some young people just spent their days and nights on social media, addicts on social media. They try to connect the world by the social media and they lost the connection to the real world. They even don’t know who their neighbors are. Instead of real life they care for their reputation on Facebook.
Social media could be a tool for mobilizing young people, but the youth is using it in a wrong way. They don’t care about political or social events for change on Facebook and will not show up. They are influenced by what they read on social media and forget to be critically thinking about what is right or wrong. The youth is the future of our country, but they live on social media.

Unsafe and Insecure
Myanmar people are in general very friendly, and the hospitals are good. But the percentage of the crime level in Yangon is quite high. In the previous election period,the government released political prisoners including the criminals, they thought would change for better. After that, I have heard about so many crimes around Myanmar from social media and the people around me, and the crime rate has increased. These stories make me feel unsafe and insecure. I’m originally from Pathein where the criminal rate is pretty low, so I feel safer when I’m back home with my family. I feel like a need to be more careful in Yangon.

 

The conservative people of Myanmar
“You are younger than me, I’m older than you”,this is a sentence you hear a lot when you’re younger. It’s a sign of overprotection or an excuse for not letting the youth be involved in society. Some elder people are awareof the power of the youth and they are trying to empower youth, but others are still very conservative in their view on the youth. They don’t believethe youth can do anything.
In my point of view, the elder people in Myanmar are conservative. Although Yangon is becoming more flexible and progressive, in our country, we have cultural conservatives and religious conservative. I don’t think it’s a problem to maintain the culture, but the problem is holding on to old values of the culture in a developing world. Culture is important – all cultural things should be maintained; the language, the traditional cloths, and the spirit. The elder people, who hold on to old values, control the youth. The young people have respect for the elders and listen to their advice. Elders in Myanmar are precious, because they take care of us until we are ready to take care of them. In Myanmar it is part of the culture that young people stay with their parents until they get married – they might even stay after marriage. Because we depend on our elders, we have to listen to them. When the conservative elders tell the young people to follow old religious or cultural values, they block the youth’s future, their creativity, their ideas, and their passion. The conservative people have a proverb: “the thought of women could not go through the top of the roof.” What they mean is, whatever women do, they can’t control their own life or have influence. And that point of view, I believe, is a big problem for development.
Some elder people are very good at leading youth and youth love them – but far from everyone does that. The elder people should empower youth, and they should advise us, not be the controller or the decision-making. The reason that a lot of the youth don’t participate in society is because of the elder, conservative people. Young people in Myanmar are very dependent on their parents or elder people, and when these people want it to stay this way, they make sure that this dependence continues – and then the youth will never create new ideas.

En almindelig, ualmindelig dag som praktikant i Myanmar

Nina Borgen er ny praktikant ved Foundation for Change – et af de projekter, Minglabar Myanmar støtter i Myanmar. Hun er landet i yangon og fortæller her om en almindelig, ualmindelig dag som praktikant i Myanmar.

Så er en ny praktikant landet hos FFC i Yangon i Myanmar – og det er mig. Mit navn er Nina, jeg er 23 år og praktikant hos FFC på mit 7. semester på statskundskab. Jeg ankom for en uge siden og er godt i gang med arbejdet hernede.

Før jeg ankom, var det svært at forestille sig, hvordan en hverdag ville se ud hernede. Men nu er jeg i gang, og derfor tænkte jeg, at jeg også vil vise dig min hverdag – eller i hvert fald et udsnit af den.

Derfor får du et indlæg om en helt almindelig ualmindelig dag som praktikant. Almindelig, fordi det giver et godt billede af min hverdag hernede. Ualmindelig, da ingen dage hernede er ens – og det er det, der gør det så spændende, afvekslende og fedt at være praktikant.

kl-8

Kl. 8.00: Ringeuret ringer. Morgenmaden står på noget yoghurt, et æble og et æg, som jeg har kogt i min elkedel. Salt til ægget, kaffe til min træthed og vand til min krop skal der selvfølgelig også til. Jeg har god tid, så kan nå at læse et kapitel i min igangværende skønlitterære bog.

kl-9

Kl. 9.00: Jeg sidder i en taxi på vej til møde. Trafikken er et helvede på dette tidspunkt af dagen, og da jeg skal ret langt væk, må jeg hellere tage af sted i lidt ekstra god tid. Var et godt valg, da vi havde problemer med at finde stedet.

Kl. 10.00: Møde hos ActionAid, som er en af vores samarbejdspartnede. Alle er lidt forsinket udover mig – jeg kom 9.59, lige til tiden. Men ”Asian-time” vænner man sig til.  Billy, min kollega, og James, trainee hos ActionAid, ankom efter ganske kort tid. Mødet omhandlede vores fremtidige partnerskab, og hvordan vi kan samarbejde bedst muligt.

kl-13

Kl. 13.00: Billy og jeg tog ud og spiste på en lokal burmesisk restaurant. Derefter flyttede vi videre på café med wifi og researchede på de nyeste visum-regler – som ikke helt nemme at hitte ud af. Det tager en del af min tid disse dage.

kl-15

Kl. 15.00: Jeg tager toget hjem, da vi alligevel er i nærheden af en station. Det er også hyggeligt, taxier er der jo ikke noget yderligere charmerende ved, for chaufførerne kan alligevel sjældent mere engelsk end at sige prisen og tak. Derudover er togturen billig – 100 kyat (hvilket er omkring 50 øre).

kl-16

Kl. 16.00: Jeg går hjem fra stationen, og vejret er skønt! Nu når det er regntid, og det er Myanmar, hvor solen går ned omkring kl. 18, nyder jeg virkelig bare de tidspunkter på dagen, hvor det hverken regner eller er mørkt. På vejen smutter jeg forbi en ny boghandel, jeg opdagede forleden aften. Jeg skal i anledning af mit praktikophold skrive en såkaldt ”individuel politologisk seminar opgave”, hvilket er et krav fra Institut på Statskundskab på Aarhus Universitet, når man er i praktik. Jeg har valgt at skrive om Myanmar under emnet  ”National building”. Derfor har jeg brug for en god bog til at få helt styr over Myanmars (/Burmas) historie. Har været i flere boghandlere, hvor der ikke lige har været så mange engelske bøger. Men i dag fandt jeg en bog, jeg helt sikkert kan finde nyttig!

kl-17

Kl. 17.00: Med en kop kaffe, min nye bog og ubesvarede mails tager jeg lige en time på kontoret.

kl-19-30

Kl. 19.30: Mødes med nogen af mine nye venner, som jeg mødte på en bar sidste weekend. Der er nogen barer i Yangon, hvor der nærmest kun er NGO-folk. Det er dejligt at kunne tage ud og møde en masse, hvis nuværende liv i høj grad minder om ens eget; arbejdende i en NGO i et fremmed land langt væk fra familie og velkendte venner. Denne aften tog vi på en fantastisk indisk restaurant, hvor vi var 10 som delte en masse forskellige mindre indiske retter (Restauranten hedder AV’s: virkelig anbefalelsesværdig!). Både England, Indien, Tyskland, Filippinerne, Frankrig og, selvfølgelig, Danmark, var repræsenteret ved den forsamling.

kl-22-30

Kl. 22.30: Vi tog videre på en bar, som jeg aldrig har været på før. Den viste sig at være ca. 500 meter væk fra der, hvor jeg og de to danske Youth Leathers skal bo. Her mødte jeg endnu flere NGO-folk. Der er så få af “vores slags” i Yangon, at det er nærmest er som et lille ”community”. Det var en skøn aften! Jeg skulle tidligt op næste dag, så det blev til en enkelt genstand og en masse snak, før jeg smuttede hjem omkring kl. 12.