Despite the very challenging situations in Myanmar, Khun Sint Phoo Wai and Thiri stayed resilient and persevered in their fight to help and empower women. During the 2nd ASEAN Youth Social Journalism (AYSJ) Contest 2021, they launched a campaign on “SHE holds the future”.
How did you join AYSJ 2021?
The AYSJ 2021 is one of the most precious and unforgettable highlights of 2021 for us. Without any doubt, as national finalists of Myanmar, we have confronted a proliferation of challenges and predicaments because of the country’s situation. The thought about quitting the contest even crossed our minds. The terrible state of the nation put us in a dilemma on whether or not we should participate in the contest, despite the fact that we were extremely hyped about it. So, back to the days while we were preparing to fill up the application form, the country immediately got into the darkest period because of the coup. We lost hope and wills to live in these dark times. Nonetheless, we were determined to harvest what we have sowed and continued to fill up the form. But we were unfortunate as the internet connection in our country was cut off and this lead us to feel at lost. However, we chose to be resilient and prove that we can still be a spark even in the darkness.
In March, the data connection was cut off again nationwide and my area did not support wifi access so I was apart from the internet world. In the middle of March, we got a message from ASEAN Foundation that we have been selected as national finalists for AYSJ 2021. We were head over heels on the news but on the other hand, we were getting anxious about the stumbling state of the nation. In the end, we competed by grasping our beliefs and confidence and we successfully reached this far. It was undoubtedly a worthy experience.
What did you do throughout the programme?
We were onboarded on 31st May when we first met with our mentor and enthusiastic youths from the ASEAN region. We learned about approaching and hitting the target audiences to make our product demandable by getting insights from success stories and demonstrations. We were offered various different ideas on how to analyze and identify the groundless and fabricated sources of news. On the second day, we carried out our campaign name and set up the draft of the content calendar which was supposed to be implemented throughout the campaign period. We also received an enormous amount of insightful takeaways throughout the rest of the two days through multimedia formats and immersion into Facebook’s Features like using emoji, polls, status and events, and live sessions. Additionally, we presented a two-minute long video about our traditional local food and it was indeed a delightful experience. We also had a chance to meet with knowledgeable experts from different areas, which helped us gain new knowledge as a team. Overall, being a part of AYSJ 2021 is a blessing for us amidst chaotic situations.
Could you tell us more about your campaign?
Throughout our campaign period, We were able to provide a program called “Her inner voice during the crisis.” It included three episodes. We went outside and recorded videos of women from different backgrounds. Through the Thuman’s Facebook Page, these women were able to have their voices heard by our community. As we learned about their struggles, we were able to figure out ways on how Thuma could help and encourage them regarding their skills and opportunities. Our campaign called “SHE Holds the Future” included three themes including “Grow Your Skills During the Pandemic, Heal Your Mental With Us, Covid 19 and Women”. We were glad to receive many authentic and encouraging feedback from our participants. We, Thuma, have also created and established our own Thuma Official Website where our recent one-month activities can be explored.
Besides our campaign, we produced our own liquid soap and hand sanitizer with our brand “Thuma”, which we are planning to launch for our funding. Due to our current pandemic situation, soaps and hand sanitizers in Myanmar had become rather costly. We initiated those products with the aim of selling liquid soap and hand sanitizers at a fair price so that we could help needy people in a certain way. Throughout our journey, “Thuma” Community Organization had gained 4259 likes and 4359 followers. As the original purpose of our organization, we have uplifted the skills and abilities of over 100 women in Myanmar who have been struggling during COVID-19. Through our program, these women can have their voices heard. Now, we as a Thuma Team are ready to take further steps to be a shoulder for Myanmar women and for our community.