A Blind Man’s Struggles & Accomplishments | Disability In Myanmar

“Five percent of Myanmar’s population are people with disability. I am one of them.”

 

Documentary Photographer Sai Htin Linn Htet is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography.  From his project ‘See the Future‘.  To see Sai Htin’s body of work click on any photograph.

 

 

The disabled in Myanmar are both physically and socially marginalized.  The majority of the people with visual impairments have fewer choices for a career.  The blind became either a massager or handicraft maker. It is hard to break the cycle of poverty as there are tremendous barriers in accessing basic human rights and needs. Independent life is a dream for most individuals that are visually impaired.  Children who are blind are usually kept indoors for their safety.

 

“There is less and less space for pedestrians.
I feel like being a bowling pin.
I put my life in God’s hand whenever I cross the road.
Some people believe I am punished for sins committed during  my previous lives. This is even scarier than crossing the road..”

 

Saw Manine Phaung was born visually impaired in a rural village in Kayin State.   He became the first one to achieve a bachelor degree in his family and is currently living independently as a skillful audio engineer and an advocate for the rights of disabled in Myanmar.

 

“I had to go through many obstacles to become audio engineer. My dream is to be a musician playing in big hotels.”

 

 

“My girlfriend and I have been together for 3 years but there are many problems to get married.
I’m blind and she’s not.
Plan A is to do everything I can to get her parents’ approval. Plan B is to elope.”

 

 

Before the 2015 election, Manine joined a band where all members are disabled. They play together and educate people on how to vote.

 

 

Manine faced many difficulties to vote as his name was not on the list. Believing that “every vote counts for the change” he traveled to his village and convinced his entire family and villagers to vote as they previously thought it was too complicated.

 

Polling Officer: “You are blind. Just stay at home. Why are you even voting?”

 

 

 

“I am blind… but I feel… I can see the future!”

 

See also:

A New Family

By Sai Htin Linn Htet

 

 

 

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