A do­na­tion given is a hun­gry mouth fed

One or­gan­i­sa­tion is work­ing to ease the pres­sure of food costs on lo­cal peo­ple.

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Weekend|donation - PHOE WA

TT’S busy on Nyi Nyunt Yay Street for a Sun­day morn­ing. While most Yan­go­nites are still in bed or pot­ter­ing around the home en­joy­ing their time off, a crowd gath­ers out­side the build­ing of the Kaunt Yoe Nwe So­cial Or­gan­i­sa­tion in Mayan­gon town­ship. An or­derly queue is form­ing. Some are sit­ting on plas­tic chairs they brought from home, or just stand­ing around or learn­ing against walls and chat­ting. The crowd seems di­verse – there are peo­ple wear­ing lit­tle more than rags but then some have come in bright pat­terned longyis and pressed shirts. What ev­ery­one has in com­mon, though, is that they are car­ry­ing bags and large wa­ter bot­tles.

The key to this strange event is the Kaunt Yoe Nwe So­cial Or­gan­i­sa­tion – which has be­gun sell­ing ba­sic food stuffs, such as rice and oil, at one third the go­ing mar­ket price – which has been in­flated by the re­cent pres­sure on the Kyat. One pyi of rice (lo­cal mea­sure­ment) sells for K900 at the or­gan­i­sa­tion and K1,400 out­side. Oil is K600 for just un­der 500 grams, ac­cord­ing to U Thaung Sein, pres­i­dent of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“Nowa­days, peo­ple in Myan­mar are fac­ing ter­ri­ble short­ages in com­modi­ties and they are strug­gling. We want to help as much as we can by of­fer­ing a low cost al­ter­na­tive,” U Thaung Sein ex­plained.

Though the prod­ucts are cheap, the or­gan­i­sa­tion is care­ful not to just hand out low qual­ity food. The rice is in­spected and, though it is rough, they make sure it is clean and free of mix­ing with paddy reeds or any in­sects or dirt. They also sell veg­etable oil ex­clu­sively, and do not wish to pass on palm oil.

“Palm oil is cheap but ad­versely af­fects peo­ple’s health, so, we sell more high-grade veg­etable oil. Now, peo­ple can buy high-grade veg­etable oil at the price of palm oil,” U Thaugn Sein said. As word of the or­gan­i­sa­tion spread, donors have come to of­fer money to help sub­sidise these ne­ces­si­ties.

“Rice, oil, salt, onions, these sta­ples have be­come more ex­pen­sive, and rose to K200 yes­ter­day,” Daw Par Par, a vis­i­tor on Sun­day, said. “We heard they sell at low prices and so we came to buy.”

The rules of the or­gan­i­sa­tion state that one vis­i­tor can pur­chase a pyi of rice and 489 grams of oil. If you want to stock up, you have to bring the fam­ily with you. Peo­ple wait­ing ex­pressed their grat­i­tude for the of­fer and said the money saved would con­tribute to spend­ing on chil­dren and on med­i­cal fees.

“My boss has called me three times about be­ing late, but I can’t go. I apol­o­gised but I need to buy this rice and that makes me sweat,” one Daw Soe Soe Win said.

U Thaung Sein was quick to point out that the so­cial or­gan­i­sa­tion is not in­ter­ested in mak­ing a po­lit­i­cal state­ment, only in re­liev­ing the stress of or­di­nary peo­ple. He also said that the pro­gramme will run for as long as it is needed. “We have no al­le­giances to push, we just want to help peo­ple,” he said. “If an or­gan­i­sa­tion like ours opens some­where, it can im­prove the lives of a thou­sand peo­ple.”

Peo­ple line up to buy rice and oil at Kaunt Yoe Nwe So­cial Oga­ni­za­tion, Mayan­gone town­ship, Yan­gon on oc­to­ber 14, 2018.

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