Maimed by Landmines, Karen Villagers Join Soldiers to Commemorate World Disability Day

The International Day of Persons with Disability was celebrated for the first time in honor of Karen villagers and soldiers who lost limbs during Burma’s civil war. The ceremony was held at Maw Per Kho village, Hlaing Bwe Township of Pa-an District.

Saw Nay Kaw, an organizer of the event from the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN) told Karen News that they organized the event with aim to support local people and Karen National Liberation Army soldiers disabled by mines.

“The main purpose of this event was to encourage the villagers and KNU comrades who were disabled by landmines. We want the community to understand and honor the International Disability Day and give a helping hand to the people with disabilities.”

During the event, there was discussions on the danger of landmines and the important role people with disability offer to their communities were followed by sport competitions.

Saw Tue Lue, a villager from Mae Kae Khee village who joined the event spoke to Karen News.

“We are very happy to gather here. We didn’t know each other, but we now have got a chance to get to know each other. We became friends with the people from different villages. We are happy to play together. We are happy to take part. We want this kind of things to continue happen in the future.”

Saw Kae Moo, a former Karen soldier from Maw Per Kho village said that the event build friendship among them.

“This is the first ever disability day in our village – we are very happy. We are also very glad that people from different areas came and took part in the sports. We are happy to make friends today.”

Saw Kae Moo told Karen News that as a soldier, he made sacrifices for the Karen nation and its people. Now, he wants the encouragements, protection and difficulties he faces to be shared.

“At first, we were people with complete hands and legs. Within an eye-blink, we became disabled without hands and legs – the consequences of landmines. In the future, I want our leaders to know that I don’t want to have the suffering, difficulties, and experiences that I have experienced. We need livelihood trainings for people with disabilities to help us survive. We don’t have complete hands and legs anymore, but we still want to take care of our family and our children, to enable them to live well in the future.”

Saw Nay Kaw from KESAN said that Saw Kae Moo is only one out of the hundreds of villagers and soldiers maimed by landmines.

“When we look at the KNU’s 7 Districts and 7 Brigades, especially in Brigade 7, we can see many soldiers who lost body parts (hands and legs) for the country and its people. I want people to value those who gave up on their hands and legs for the country and people. We should help, as they are people working for the people and the Karen struggle.”

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