Musicians and activists united in Rangoon on Sunday for a series of concerts benefitting Kachin war refugees.
Much-loved musical group Shwe Thanzin teamed up with Pan Ye Lan and the Action Times Foundation for the three-day event from 11-13 May.
Pan Ye Lan is a charity founded by musicians in 2012, known for performing in teashops and on the street, to raise relief funds for internally displaced persons (IDPs). The Action Times Foundation specialises in disaster and conflict relief, and has operated in Kachin State and in Meikhtila in the wake of violence.
Thar Htwe, a singer for Pan Ye Lan, said the team plans to expand the campaign to other parts of Burma. They hope to perform in Mandalay, Maymyo [Pwin Oo Lwin] and Muse before donating the funds to six IDP camps in Man Waing Gyi, Kachin State. They expect to wrap up the campaign and deliver funds in June.
He said that while past fundraisers have brought in about 3-400,000 kyat (US$3-400), awareness of recent events in Kachin State has perhaps made people more supportive.
“Now we’re getting, like, 5-600,000 kyat,” he said.
The group is scheduled for performances at several of Rangoon’s well-known teashops, including Seik Tin Kya and Thone Pan Hla.
Aid workers have estimated that more than 3,000 people have been displaced by recent fighting in Kachin State, though many more were already displaced. Since the June 2011 breakdown of a 17-year ceasefire between the Kachin Independence Army and the Burmese military, more than 100,000 people have fled their homes in northern Burma.
Many IDP camps are located in remote, isolated areas that receive little or no humanitarian aid and are highly susceptible to disaster caused by extreme weather and lack of medical supplies.