United ACT – On 19th November 2011, the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB) and Burma Anti Child Trafficking (Burma ACT) organized the Universal Children’s Day singing contest at CDC high school in Mae Sot, Thailand.
Teachers and students from Burmese migrant schools in Mae Sot, numbering around 200 people , attended the ceremony which began at 10am. Pan Tsun, from HREIB, made a speech at the opening regarding the intentions behind holding the ceremony.
The United ACT Theater group then performed a new play called “The Rose Surrounded by Thorns”. The play was written by members of United ACT and edited by Pan Thee (from Thee Nyi Naung). The play’s duration was around thirty minutes, and contained a variety of styles, including traditional dance, as well as a variety of emotions, from upsetting to humorous. Audience members watched the performance attentively.
Zaw Min Oo, a member of United ACT and an actor in the play, said, “We spent time practicing this new play in order to perform today. Almost all the members are students, so we also have to go to school. We organized our time and practiced 5-9pm every day for five days before the ceremony. Even though students were tired, they tried their best. Sayar Pan Thee himself came to the practices free-of-charge. Because everyone tried so hard, we were able to perform well. Our story really touched audience’s heart until they were on the verge of tears. Therefore, we feel we were successful in our storytelling. We have performed many child trafficking plays to the public already. If we perform this newly play among the public, we should be able to further spread our message and knowledge about child trafficking, and encourage young people to participate anti-child trafficking campaigning as we do. For educational purposes, we will continue to perform this play in public.”
There were five child rights related songs available for participants in the song contest to perform, they were permitted to choose one song each. Age limitation of the contestants from the Burmese migrant schools was 8-14 years as the primary age group and 15-20 years as the secondary age group. Sample discs and lyrics were distributed beforehand and auditions were held on 12th November 2011. Six contestants from both the primary and secondary groups, totaling twelve people, were selected from the sixty people who auditioned.
The singing contest began after the performance of the United ACT Theater Group. The primary group competed first, with a guest vocalist Ko Zaw Zaw singing a child rights related song afterwards. Then the contest continued with secondary group. Each contestant was asked a child rights related question after they performed. Vocalist Yuri performed two of his own tunes while the judges were deliberating. Awards were distributed following the completion of the contest.
For the primary level competition, Naw Chaw Su from Light School won first prize, Naw Mar Myint from Morning Glory School won second prize and Nan Lar Lar from United Christian School won third prize. For the secondary level competition, Saw Sa Paung from CDC School won first prize, Pan Sin from BHSOH School won second prize and Poe Pyay Soe from Minmahaw School won the third prize. Moreover, the best performance awards were chosen amongst the contestants and awards were given out by Pan Tsun and Nay Oo. “Pencil which is not heavier than army boots” which was a popular song amongst the contestants was then sang by the group at the close of the ceremony.