After the military coup in Myanmar on February 1st 2021 the military is using severe violence to silence protest. Every day, the numbers of arrests and victims are increasing. Especially youth and young adults, who had high hopes for a democratic future, engage in the protests and are threatened by the violence.
While the big protests are happening in Mandalay and Yangon, the situation in the conflict regions, especially in Rakhine state, has become very volatile. The crack-down has severe consequences for civil society actors and peace activists. They are in danger of persecution. International support has become much more difficult to deliver. At the same time, solidarity and mutual support between diverse communities in Rakhine state is becoming even more important.
Since 2017, Culture for Peace has built a team of committed young dialogue activists from Rakhine (Buddhist) and Rohingya (Muslim) communities. Together with our partner PDI- Kintha, we have developed a unique storytelling dialogue method (Training Manual).
It enables people from the communities to share their (life) stories and develop trust and mutual understanding, while discussing conflict experiences and learning basics of conflict resolution and mediation.
The dialogue facilitators from both communities – Muslim and Buddhist – work together in one team – which is one of the unique features of our work. The team that has been trained intensely and has built trustful relationships with each other. They are highly appreciated in their communities and ready to continue the work.
Due to the coup, the funding for our next/current project cycle has been halted. Now we fear, that our team will fall apart, because we cannot pay their salaries. They might need to earn a living elsewhere. Their knowledge and skill would be lost to the dialogue processes.
Please help us save our team of Rakhine and Rohingya dialogue facilitators.
Even in the outmost challenging current situation on the ground, our team could continue with the work, for example hosting biographical interviews, producing podcasts and dialogue videos and advocate for mutual understanding between communities in conflict on social media. They can use their skills to monitor the situation on the ground in Rakhine in a conflict sensitive way. As soon as it is possible, they will conduct direct dialogue meetings with people from their communities.
To sustain our team in Rakhine only for one month, we need 3000,- Euro, i.e. 250,- Euro each staff member (part-time positions, no distinction compared to original budget plan for purpose of simplicity and solidarity).
Culture for Peace works with local grass-roots partners in Myanmar (Rakhine State) since 2017. Culture for Peace staff has extensive experience in human rights work / protection of human rights defenders.