The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Tuong Vi Nguyen '21 Collects Stories from Kachin people

Tuong Vi Nguyen '21 after an interview with Ms. Doi Bu from the Kachin Women Association. 

Tuong Vi Nguyen '21 visits Myanmar and a Kachin traditional dance group performs for a Women's Day forum. 

Housing at the Kachin Baptist Convention internally displaced people camp where Tuong Vi Nguyen'21 collected stories from Kachin people.

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Mini-Grant recipient, Tuong Vi Nguyen '21, shares her experience traveling to Myitkyina, Myanmar to collect stories from Kachin people.

Humans of Kachin serves as a platform for the stories of the Kachin community in order to raise awareness about this neglected part of the world. The Kachin people are an ethnic minority in Myanmar who are discriminated against and facing many challenges under the Myanmar military regime. 

This past spring, I traveled to Myitkyina, Myanmar to collect stories from Kachin people who have been directly impacted by the Myanmar social and political climate. The Civil War in Myanmar has been ongoing since 1948, and since 2011, there has been increasing military infiltration into Kachin villages. As a result, villagers from rural areas are forced to flee to the cities, where local churches and NGOs have been working to build camps for the refugees. 

I had the chance to visit two of these internally displaced peoples (IDPs) camps, one of which was at Saint John’s Catholic Church and housed 300 people, and the other, supported by the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), which housed 2700 people. Families of five or more people lived in a small room constructed of bamboo and tarp. The IDPs explained to me that they received a ration of 15,000 kyats per month per person, which is roughly $10 USD. This was hardly enough for them to afford food for the month. 

I spoke to several activist group leaders who advocated for human rights, women’s rights, and IDP rights, and also learned their perspective on the political situation. I was able to collect 30 stories from people around the city and IDP camps, and will be sharing those stories as well as hosting an exhibition event in order to raise awareness about the Kachin people. 

To hear more about Humans of Kachin, please visit its facebook page

-Submitted by Tuong Vi Nguyen'21, Rockefeller Center Mini-Grant Recipient 

The Rockefeller Center's Mini-Grants program funds registration fees for students attending conferences, as well as the costs of bringing guest speakers to Dartmouth. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the Rockefeller Center or constitute an endorsement by the Center.

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