Initially founded to make Yangon a cleaner and more livable city, the group recently launched a new program to help those suffering under the COVID-19 restrictions. Launched some three weeks ago, “Lo Lyin Khaw Par” (Call Me if You Need) was set up to provide resources for low-income families dealing with shortages during the pandemic.
Armed with staples of rice and cooking oil, the team prepared their deliveries for the old lady. When they arrived at the township they were greeted by her family, who were eager to guide them through the back streets and muddy pathways.
They had chosen to wait on the street corner, as they no longer had a phone. Needing money to pay for rent and food, the family had pawned their small Xioami smartphone – making them reliant on neighbours to communicate with the team.
“The family worried that we wouldn’t find them, as they pawned their phone away the night before. When I called them to confirm the address, no one answered the phone,” Ko Zayar Tun said.
Since the beginning of the second wave in September, members of Clean Yangon, Clean Yangon’s members developed a program called “Hmya Way Phay Ku Doe Atu” (Sharing Together) initiative, which seeks to deliver packages rice, cooking oil and other basic staples to hundreds of families in Yangon’s outer suburbs.
As part of the program, Lo Lyin Khaw Par is targeted specifically at elderly residents, people with physical disabilities and those fighting chronic diseases.To help people in these demographics, the orgnaisation established a hotline for people to reach them on.
After receiving phone calls and inquiries, Lo Lyin Khaw Par team members then prepare their aid packages. The team delivers food to around 70 to 100 people a day. Residents from 10 townships have called, including those living in areas like South Dagon, Hlaing Tharyar, Shwe Pyi Thar, Dagon Seikkan, East Dagon and Thanlyin townships.
Clean Yangon donation packages include two kilo bags of rice, one bottle of cooking oil, quaker oats and packets of biscuits.
“We started delivering packages to people living in the squats in the outer suburbs, but we also found people needing assistance who lived in apartments. That’s why we set up the hotline, as we didn’t want to miss anyone,” Ko Zayar Tun said.The team scrutinises every call they receive, to make sure they are helping the right families and not wasting resources.
“We met some elders who are partially paralysed. These kinds of people feel really depressed, not being able to move about by themselves. Some even cry in delight when we visit their homes,” he said.
The Thadingyut festival, also known as the lighting festival, is held on the full moon day of the Burmese lunar month of Thadingyut. In celebration of Thadingyut, Clean Yangon will offer packages containing a new longyi, vitamin supplements and K5,000 to 100 people around 80-years old.