Source: Channel NewsAsia
Young people in Myanmar are taking their own initiative to spread the message of peace to their fellow citizens.
Concerned with the communal violence which broke out in Meitikla recently, they want to put a stop to the animosity between ethnic and religious groups.
Young volunteers have been distributing stickers with the slogan "I will not let religious or ethnic violence begin with me”.
Hsu Myat Mon, a 20-year-old volunteer, said:
"With the words ‘The conflict won't begin with me’, everyone can remind themselves within their minds that they won't start the conflict because of themselves."
During rush hour in the city, the volunteers distribute stickers, driving home the message of harmony.
They catch the attention of curious passers-by, many of whom are receptive to their message.
Aung Naing Soe, a 22-year-old volunteer, said: "60 percent or 70 percent of people get the sticker and they feel happy because I see the smile on their face. I think they will accept the words on the stickers because these words lead to the message of peace."
It has been two weeks since these volunteers began their peace movement.
With their own money, they distributed 35,000 stickers and 1,500 t-shirts, bearing the message of non-violence.
They have already run out of stickers and will be printing 10,000 more. This time, it will be with the help of a non-governmental organization that has thrown its support behind them.
The movement has not always been smooth-sailing.
Ko Ko Oo Maung, a 30-year-old volunteer, said: "Some people, they just take my sticker and they throw it away, then I feel very sad. I take back my sticker, I go to another place and I will pass to other people."
Thet Swe Win, programme director of Myanmar Youth Empowerment Programme, said: "They call us and scold us using very bad words, but we already expect that condition but we have to keep on moving to our goal. All young people want to stay peacefully so we decided we want to do something for peace."
Volunteers said they will not be deterred by threats and will press on with their efforts. They are calling on their friends in other cities to do the same.