Home ဆောင်းပါး SHE: Who Shaped Gender Equality ALONG with the Rhythm

SHE: Who Shaped Gender Equality ALONG with the Rhythm

Thant Shin Tun

The rhythm of dancing complemented with the sound of music from one of the houses in the Tain Nyo Model Village of Myauk-U Township in Rakhine State strengthens the hearts of those who hear and see it.

Music makes the people happy as well as unpleasantness temporarily disappear. This is why the people love music and Ma Hsan Che is one of them. She is a 16-year-old young girl who lives in Tain Nyo model village and whenever she has free time, she practices dancing.

“I love dancing. I enjoy it so much. I like to dance with modern music.” Ma Hsan Che said enthusiastically and cheerfully.  

Dance practice is easy for most of the girls but for Ma Hsan Che, she finds it more challenging because her left leg is disabled.

Ma Hsan Che was born with two legs, just like any other children, said Daw Hnin Nu, mother of Ma Hsan Che. Her left leg had a tumor and it was amputated from the mid of her thigh at the hospital of Myauk U Township.

“My daughter told me many times that she felt too much pain which she can no longer bear when the lump got bigger, so we went to the hospital and then she had her leg amputated. As a mother, I was very sad but my daughter has not been completely depressed at all until now,” she said.

It was in 2019-2020 academic year, when Ma Hsan Che was 10 years old in her fourth grade, she was able to dance energetically to the tune and rhythm on the stage along with her classmates at the school’s gathering event. Besides those audiences, her video clip was posted on social media and it went viral and popular on social media with a lot of viewers and people’s praise and interest has been taken, according to her mother.

Ma Hsan Che is studying at Basic Education High School at Tain Nyo and she dances at her school dance fair every year. Besides, she also teaches the dance to her peers and junior male students.

“At the school dance fair, I can dance well like others. I teach both boys and girls. I can often imitate the dance as soon as I see it on the Internet and my teachers also encourage me,” she said with a big laugh.

Ma Hsan Che said that after the military coup and the renewed fighting in Rakhine State, she lost contact with the organizations that supported her.

The support and activities of the Civil society organizations and INGOs/NGOs supporting the region have been restricted. The organizations that are helping the disability community also rarely reach the disabled person in the war-ravaged Rakhine State.

“In the past, there were some organizations who came and give me some snacks and some necessities. The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) provided a prosthetic leg for me. Due to the political instability, it has been one year since those sorts of groups did not come anymore. Right now, I am walking with the support of crutches,” she said.

Although she is a disabled person living in the countryside, she has got a good environment. Ma Hsan Che, since she turned into a teenager, has never faced any discrimination throughout her life, and she says with firm determination that she has the right to try everything regardless of gender.

“Everyone praises me. Although I am a bit different from others, yet I don’t feel any such inferiority or humiliation. I believe that women can carry out everything like men can do things in the world,” she noted.

Though she is disabled, she is not living by relying on others and what’s more, she is trying to stand on her ability. Her mother, Daw Hnin Nu said that Ma Hsan Che can ride a bicycle well and can ride a battery motorcycle, as well.

The mother continued that the whole family encouraged her passion for dancing and praised her endeavor.

Ma Hsan Che is the youngest daughter among five siblings.  Although her parents are not wealthy, still, they provide as much as they can for their daughter, said Daw Hnin Nu.

“I don’t have enough money, but I attempt to fulfill everything I could for my daughter. I want her to be educated. As a mother, I also encourage her passion for dance. Whatever she wants to be, I want her to be successful,” stated a mother’s wish.

Though Ma Hsan Che wants to pursue her passion as dancing and music, in the long term, she said that she must also take into account her livelihood for her life.

“If possible, I want to be successful with this dance for the rest of my life. But living and surviving is harder than for one to pursue a hobby” she commented.

The association would like to provide as much assistance and support as possible to Ma Hsan Che, but as they have to give priority to IDPs of the war, Ma Hsan Che is not included in their plan to support yet said U Hla Myint, chairperson of the Rakhine State Association for Persons with Disabilities.  

“We support according to the list of the government project. As for Tain Nyo, the priority is to support IDPs and there was no opportunity to support her,” said U Hla Myint.

“Though Ma Hsan Che is disabled, I respect her since she has the abilities to compete equally not only with girls but also with boys” He continued.

“When I went to see her once, I saw that she was determined and strong-willed. And even though she is disabled, she can do things on an equal footing with other people,” U Hla Myint praised.

Moreover, women are physically and mentally different from men, but Ma Hsan Che, a brave girl, has no inferiority and can be seen as a hardworking mind, said one of her villagers.

“We must help each other. In modern times, discrimination on disability has gradually disappeared. I admire and impress her ability to do so,” the villager said.

Although she is disabled, she has been practicing her favorite dance with her phone and says that she wants to become the best dancer in one day.

Ma Hsan Che, who can dance in harmony with the tune alongside with the boys on the stage at the school prom without making any mistakes. Ma Hsan Che explained what she had accepted.

“As I accept my existence, I never get discouraged.”


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