Helping displaced people rebuild lives

Daw Khawn Hping, after attending snack-making course organised as part of UNDP support to displaced persons, enables to produce and sell dumplings

Nam San Yang Village, Waing Maw Township, Kachin State

Daw Khawn Hping, a mother of four, is a native of Nam San Yang, a village in the southern part of Waingmaw Township in Kachin State. Fourteen months ago, the sounds of gun firing and heavy weapons finally made Daw Khawn Hping and her family decide to leave their beloved village. “We never thought of abandoning our village,” she said,  “but we unfortunately had to leave as there were frequent clashes between the two sides”.

Daw Khawn, her husband and children left the village one evening, they stayed two nights in a forest and before they found the courage to go out to look for a safe place of refuge. They walked along a highway and were lucky that a couple of hours later a kindly driver stopped and offered them a ride. He dropped them off at a church in Myitkyina Township where other people like them were taking refuge.

The UN estimates that some 75,000 people have been displaced across Kachin state. The situation is still unstable and almost all displaced people in refugee camps rely on external assistance for their basic needs.

Highlights

  • Vocational training in snack making, food preservation, knitting, bag and basket weaving is conducted for Internally Displaced Persons
  • Nearly 1,853 households or about 9,000 people in 48 camps throughout Kachin have benefited from the various UNDP supported livelihoods and income generating activities

Daw Khawn’s family was given a little space in the church to sleep and provided meals. Although they felt safe and were fed, the family missed the possibility of a normal life. “I still remembered my home, my friends and village surroundings and whenever I thought of them I immediately wanted to return home,” Daw Khawn said with sadness. With four school-going children Khawn and her husband also felt they had to have an income. She and her husband had been daily-wage workers in their village, but around the camp they found it impossible to find work.

In order to help people in Daw Khawn’s situation, the UNDP supports a programme aimed at helping internally displaced people get back on their feet. Giving them a chance to learn or improve a skill, that may help them earn an income and will help them rebuild their lives when they have a chance to return home.

Daw Khawn was one of two women at her camp picked to attend a snack-making course that was part of this programme. Daw Khawn was very excited by the thought that she would finally be able to generate an income for her family. She learnt new dumpling making techniques during the training. She first made a few dumplings to test the new technique she had learned. Encouraged by the good feedback she got on their quality, she expanded the production.

Now she makes a daily net profit of Kyats 3000, selling dumplings in the ward in which the camp is located. “Experience makes me improve my skill and knowledge of dumpling making. I am waiting for the day I can return home and when I am back I will still be able to earn an income by making and selling dumplings,” said Daw Khawn.

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