Cheery Zahau's Story Transcript (Myanmar)
When I was in high school, in our classroom I asked many critical questions and my teacher often warned me that I would be in trouble if I go to university.
They often told me that my feet are at the doorstep of prison.
I moved to India at the age of 17, right after I arrived on the border, I joined the democracy movement.
A chin women’s organization that was providing services to Chin refugee children and women and when I go to the India-Burma border in exile area I read a lot of books that are critical of the government.
I get to learn about what is democracy, I get to learn about what is human rights, it was really an amazing eye-opening time for me
Chin State is one of the states in Burma, it is located in the western part of Burma neighboring with India, Chin state is a very beautiful, mountainous area, but largely neglected by successive military government over the last 60 years
In 2003 there was a mass deportation of Chin refugees from India back to Burma, Chin state, at the time people were suffering a lot.
They lost property, some people died on the way back to Chin state, when I see the suffering of the people from that moment I could not sit down doing nothing, I had to do something about it.
Before 2015 general election I travelled a lot to remote places, particularly Falam township in Chin state. There are about 180 villages in that township all scattered in mountainous areas, very remote areas.
I travelled more than 160 villages, unfortunately there was also a nature disaster before the elections so from August to September it was really difficult to travel because sometimes the whole road is completely wiped out so we have to find our road ourselves,
climbing to the top of the mountains and looking for the village and find our own ways and when we arrive in the village there is such a lack of awareness of how the election work and what is democracy means, so I become more a civil educator rather than campaign.
So I started to do a lot of training with the villagers wherever I go.
I want to see my country to be a peaceful prosperous federal union where everyone has equal opportunities, equal rights to participate in any decision-making process regardless of their race, regardless of their status, regardless of where they live, regardless of their religion.
No matter what government comes in if you pass on that knowledge to the next generations, there will always be people, movements who are fighting for democracy.