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Students raise $900 for Mutual Aid Myanmar

In week 8, students from Myanmar — also known as Burma — collaborated with the Peace, Conflict, and Democracy (PCD) cohort of the Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE) to host a fundraising event. The fundraiser raised about $900 to contribute to Mutual Aid Myanmar, a collective of activists, academics and policymakers working to support the democratic movement in Myanmar.


In February 2021, the Burmese military, known as Tatmadaw, staged a coup and arrested the elected leaders of the country’s National League for Democracy (NLD). Dozens of politicians, activists and journalists have been arrested. Protests across the country have been met with water cannons, batons and live munitions. In response, hundreds of thousands of people, an estimated 75% of all Burmese citizens, have gone on strike with the hope of forcing the military to relinquish control of the government. Mutual Aid Myanmar supports the civil disobedience movement by providing aid in the form of food, healthcare, small cash stipends and shelter to workers who are participating in the strike. 100% of donations go directly to helping people in Myanmar. 


John Win ’25, an international student from Myanmar, wrote: “Myanmar’s democracy is very young: After five decades of military rule, the country was able to transition to a democratic state only in 2010 with the military still holding power in the shadows. Then, in 2021, the military overthrew the elected government in a coup. After months of peaceful protest calling for a return to the democratically elected government, the Myanmar people learned that the military will only continue to resort to violence and oppress, torture and murder any dissidents, the people resorted to resistance, both violent and nonviolent. Young people, many of whom are university students like us, went to the jungles to obtain military training from ethnic militias and fight back. Government workers left office to halt the military’s government from functioning properly. Ordinary citizens and Burmese diaspora from all over the world provided funding and support to resistance fighters and ex-civil servants to help with the pro-democracy resistance cause. People with connections on the ground and abroad acted as intermediaries for the flow of supply and cash into the country. There is not a singular entity that is paving the way towards freedom and democracy, but it is the collective action that has kept the resistance going forward. The power lies within the people and must and has come from the people. As unfortunate as it is, Myanmar still has not received significant support nor assistance of any form from the international community.”


Win was one of the event’s organizers and has played an integral role in Mutual Aid Myanmar at Carleton. He had experience planning a similar event during Spring Term of 2022. At the time, Win was the only Burmese student on campus, so the bulk of the planning was up to him. “I bought the necessary food ingredients from the cities and the day before the event. CCCE members and I cooked and prepared the boba and the jelly in my dorm! It was a lot of fun,” Win said.


On Friday, Nov. 3, Win and other students worked with the PCD cohort to sell kyauk kyaw, a vegan coconut jelly, as well as mont lag saung, a coconut milk drink with palm sugar syrup and tapioca from a table set up in the Anderson atrium during convocation time. The drinks were $5 each and sold out very quickly, raising roughly $900 in a matter of hours. On the same day, Dr. Tun Myint, chair of the political science department, led a talk on Myanmar in the library Athenaeum. The talk, titled “Defining People’s Power: Spring Revolution Against the Coup in Myanmar,” detailed the current situation in Myanmar and described ways in which Carleton students can support displaced families in the civil disobedience movement.


So, other than buying treats, how can Carleton students help the civil disobedience movement in Myanmar? “Carls are encouraged to provide donations to Mutual Aid Myanmar at All donations will go towards helping internally displaced citizens [who are victims of] the Myanmar military’s violence and ex-civil servants. 

It is also helpful to look out for news updates from Myanmar through reliable sources like Irrawaddy English and BBC News and share them on social media. Sharing the news is as important as educating yourself,” said Win. 


Future Mutual Aid Myanmar fundraising events will take place during Winter Term, so students are encouraged to keep an eye out when they return to campus in January.

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