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The story of Daw Win Yee, rice farmer in Myanmar

7. December 2017 - Myanmar
In 2017 arche noVa celebrates its 25 years anniversary. We have been supporting humanitarian aid and development aid for a quarter century. What is behind all this? In the course of this year we introduce to you 25 people who typify arche noVa. This time it’s Daw Win Yee, rice farmer in Rakhine State in Myanmar.

Daw Win Yee is known in the village. The short haired woman likes to get involved – not in other peoples’ interests but in the topics important for everybody in the village. And those are a bunch in Taik Maw.
The village lies in the Rakine State in Myanmar. During the great flooding in 2015 Taik Maw was heavily hit.

“The water masses took our animals, the rice bank, every food stock and many of the belongings the people stored in their homes”, the 47 year-old woman tells. The same happened to her. The rice farmer worked herself out of the crisis and and since then hasn’t only restructured her household but has also engaged in the whole development of the village that was supported in a project by arche Nova.

In the catastrophe prevention committee, which was founded during the project she belongs to the “Search-and-Rescue-Team”. She has learned how to save people out of dangerous situations and how to provide first aid. “In the past we had no idea how to prevent such disasters and minimize the damage they do”, she tells us.

Since then, much has changed. Thanks to arche noVa a flood safe building has been constructed as an evacuation center, which normally is used as a school. It provides a stable rain collection tank and installed school toilets. “Before we had massive problems with water supply. Toilets didn’t exist at all. Everybody was used to defecate outside in the open. It was horribly unhygienic and dirty in the village.” Often they had problems with infectious diseases. The inhabitant of Taik Maw is pleased that this has finally changed. Hygiene courses and trainings about health care have done their part. The waste handling in the village also has improved. “We have bought containers and everybody takes part once a week collecting the trash.” Daw Win Yee of course is always on the spot when there’s something to do in the village. On the fields she is diligent too, because she lives alone with her 72 year-old mother and has to secure their livelihood with the small farm. Sometimes there is some money left which she then donates to the community. She dreams of a small library for the 589 inhabitants of Taik Maw, the expansion of the school for older classes and “a landing stage”, as she adds.  

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