Few weeks passed from the moment, when I was sitting with Andrejka in an Amsterdam bistro and we were chatting about my possible Myanmar project. Andrejka bridged me to Kristina from Amnesty International, one of the main Slovakian experts on the topic Myanmar, living, studying and helping in the country in past. With Kristina’s help I ended up with the local organization Share Mercy and decided to collect kilometres for them. In a country, where everybody would tell me running is impossible, connected to a local organization and being close to the local happenings, different to what you see as an average tourist. Fascinating!
The story of Share Mercy started in 2010 as a reaction to the cyclone Nargis, the biggest natural disaster of the written history of Myanmar. Share Mercy is a non-profit, non-political, non-religious and non-governmental organization approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs, based in the former capitol city of Yangon. It was founded by the two activists Wayan Tin Maung Win and Ni Ni Than and today it counts four stable workers. In past several international trainees have also participated on the Share Mercy activities (Slovakia, France, Taiwan etc.).
The main focus of Share Mercy lies in the community work, being close to the population who needs the help the most. During the last years the group executed more than 15 projects, such as:
… and more
Today’s critical situation
Due to the state corruption, clientelism and shipping of the international grants mainly to institutions connected to the government, the general situation of the local community organizations got much worse in past years. Share Mercy is not an exception. Thanks to the Help of Austrian catholic youth (Dreikönigsaktion) they run only one main project these days, “Civic and Religion’s Alliance for Interfaith Peace and Rule of Law* Education and Promotion”.
*Note – term “Rule of Law” is a specific term introduced by Aung San Suu Kyi, meaning the total restart and refresh of the corrupt system. The term reflects the need to follow the rule of law in every part of the civic life.
The project has been established few years ago as a reaction to the conflict which the world by now knows as the Rohinga conflict. Witnessing the systematic killing (the global world speaks today already about genocide) and refugeeing of the Muslim Rohinga minority, Share Mercy had the feeling it is time to start bringing the minorities closer – the main goal of the project is to bring closer the dominant Buddhists and other minorities and their religions, mainly Muslims and Christians.
In the first phase of the project Share Mercy educated the local community-based organizations (CBO), trained them for the terrain work. In the next phase the CBOs started spreading love, religious sympathy an tolerance among the „street men“. Educating the basic political literacy and overview is a target too. Today Share Mercy acts as the guarantee and bridge between the CBOs, leads and supports them, as well as still executes terrain work to keep them trained and updated.
Two smaller projects are part of the main Share Mercy project: legal support of local farmers during the land confiscation process and support of the kids from the orphanage Immanuel Shelter Children Home.
Due the increased construction projects the government tends to confiscate more and more land of simple farmers (for ex. for the construction of the oil pipeline from China, which is one of the theories about the real reason for the Rohinga conflict, and a very strong one). The affected farmers often don’t have a basic education level and are afraid to defend themselves against the state. Share Mercy provides paralegal support and helps with the potential court cases. In few recent years they were able to succeed in more than 100 court cases, which led to the return or fair financial compensation from the state’s side.
The second local project is the support of the kids from the orphanage Immanuel Shelter Children Home in the outskirt area of Yangon, Shwepyitha. Around 50 kids, most of them without parents and with siblings spread in other orphanages all over the country, they may never see them in life again. Share Mercy is running number of educational activities in the orphanage, click here to learn more.
HOW can you help?
The financial support from the Help of Austrian catholic youth (Dreikönigsaktion) is literally enough to cover the basic requirements of the main project only, it is not enough to cover additional Share Mercy costs such as office rent, (low) salaries of the co-workers, additional projects (court cases costs, travel costs, food for the kids etc.). You can decide, where exactly should your money go (for ex. for the food for the kids) or you can leave it to Share Mercy how to allocate your donation to their projects. Share Mercy is a transparent organization which – as one of the least in Mynamar – keeps all the book records about their finances. Your money will be in the best hands! Unfortunately, Myanmar is not Europe, something like the flexible bank transfer from abroad is not possible in this country. Should you decide to donate, the best way is to do so via a Western Union transfer (you can do an online transfer or check the partner network here.). Second option is to send money to one of my bank accounts and once a greater amount is collected, I will do the transfer myself, one-time and without additional fees for you.
For the WESTERN UNION TRANSFER you will need the following Share Mercy details. You must mention all the three persons in the transfer – money can be withdrawn only with presence of at least 2 of them:
Wayan Tin Maung Win, President, Share Mercy
NRC: 6/Ma Ah Ya (N) 100434
Daw. Ni Ni Than, Vice-president, Share Mercy
NRC: 12/Ka Ma Ya (N) 025100
Thein Naing, Treasurer, Share Mercy
NRC: 12/Pa Za Ta (N) 028038
It might be easier for you to let me arrange the transfer, simply send the donation to one of my bank accounts and I will make sure the money arrives where it should:
Czech Republic: 3462781001/5500
If a financial support is not what you prefer, you can still help – please share this article and the Facebook post, or think about a possible way how we could help Share Mercy differently. Maybe you know about a sponsor or an organization, who would like to be involved and help…?