Life of an IDP Mother in Myanmar

13 May 2024

I am 33 years old. I have been displaced since the middle of 2021. I have no income as there is no available job in the camp. There are six members in my family including two young daughters, who are 2 and 5 years old, one old disabled mother and one younger sister with Autism disability. When soldiers came to the village, we all are afraid and the whole village was displaced on that day. We fled to a nearby monastery with no light in the midnight as we were so scared of the big rocket shelling into the village if we used the light. We had to stay in the dark for the whole night. As the crowd was getting bigger and monastery was no longer safe for us, we had to flee again. It was very hard for all of us to reach out to our relatives as there was no electricity on the way and our phones also did not have battery power except the twinkle light of stars in the sky. We had to spend two nights and 3 days on the way. Finally, we had a chance to charge the phone from the village on the way and got contacted with other relatives and arrived to the destination. I tried to get some food and drink from the relatives as no one could bring food on the way. To be honest, we felt so hungry and lonely at that time.

It was a big challenge to find a place to stay for IDPs in the new place or community. The host community did not agree to set up IDP camps in the village first. After discussion, the community arranged for us to settle in the forest as the IDP camp. As I have no income, I did not have money to buy food for meal. I just had to save and use the little amount that I still had left with me. To be honest, I really hate the life situation with no food to survive, relative for help each other, friends to keep warm, clothes to wear, and water for drinking, however, I just had to keep silent at that moment in that situation. In addition, we did not have enough clothes especially for the kids because by the time we were displaced, it was during raining season. I had to dry my kids’ clothes with the fire under heavy rain in the camp. In the camps as we could not go back to the village to bring our own rice, clothes or other necessary materials. In addition, it was very difficult for my family to sleep under the tarpaulin and mostly we had to stay in the bunker because there were airstrike and big rocket shelling towards the camps every day or night. I and my family had to spend eight months in the camps with crying every night. When we moved and stayed in the village, it was very difficult for my mother as the ladder is very high. I felt very sad when I heard that the houses including mine in our village were burnt down. At that time, there were no more peace, warmth and forgiveness that could came out from my mind.

I cannot forget the time when we firstly fled and stayed in the monastery. We were so afraid of the sound of the big and small guns and shelling. Our young children cried also as they were so afraid, so we had to make them not to cry using different ways. But now, we feel better and safer as we do not hear those sounds often.

After receiving some supports from donors such as local donors, JRS, and other organizations, I have more energy to keep forward. Our situation is getting better now as we moved to my aunt’s house which is safer and has only one story.  We encourage each other in the camp and family. It was very hard to accept the current situation for me.

However, when I try to reflect this situation and all the things that I have been through, it makes me stronger and resilient as the experiences teach me the way how to survive as an IDP. I try to accept myself and the situation that I encounter. I got more energy by praying for my family and people in difficulties. We share what we have for sleeping or food or water. Now, I feel like a big family in the camp with host community. I serve as a volunteer teacher in school as much as I can. During the school season, I receive the little honorarium amount and it is a great help for my family. By sharing knowledge in the school for students, it helps me to forget my painfulness and loneliness of IDPs’ life for a moment. On the other hand, I am very happy that the students have the opportunity to continue their education.

I wish this crisis would end very soon and we could live in peace with brighter future. I hope we could overcome this challenging situation. I would like to see all my relatives and neighbors at the end of the day. I would like go back home in my original village very soon and live with others peacefully. I believe that we could survive these challenges and uncertain situation. I hope that we will continue to support each other and accept all the challenges that come to us.  We will understand other feelings and nourish the empathy as well. So that we will be able to live with peace and freedom to be the artisans of peace.

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