They may look different, with tattoos in some parts of their body and with hair styled and colored differently, but the members of a local punk group known as Rebel Riot see to it that they feed the homeless in the streets of Yangon at least once a week.
The band members gather on a Monday night, still in their black and silver-studded clothes, under an overpass bridge in a downtown area in Yangon. Their weekly mission is to bring food to the homeless they have found living around the area. They do not give something extravagant, mostly bottled water, bananas and fried rice, which they prepare and cook by themselves. Fund for the food comes from donations. Depending on the amount they receive, the meals change each week, and often they also distribute clothes.
The band members are part of the Food Not Bombs chapter in Myanmar (Burma), which was started three years ago, and the band Rebel Riot are leaders of the chapter. The Food not Bombs, a worldwide movement, started in the U.S. in 1980, advocates non-violence and anti-poverty. Members of the movement are usually volunteers.
Helping in their own small way
Rebel Riot guitarist and singer Kyaw Kyaw said that rather than sing about how the system must change, he would rather do something proactive. The members of the band estimate that they are able to feed about 80 to 100 people each time. They get to feed the young and the elderly, who are very appreciative of the food and clothing they receive.
It was not all smooth sailing for them, Kyaw Kyaw said because initially the homeless people were afraid of them, because of their attire, their tattoos and their colored hair. But now the homeless look forward to their weekly visit. One elderly person they make sure to visit during their weekly round according to Kyaw Kyaw is a woman with only one arm.
The semi-civilian government and the partial democracy brought about by the 2010 elections helped the operation of Food Not Bombs movement, according to the singer, because now they have more freedom to gather. In previous times, it was prohibited for even five people to gather in the streets of Burma and even the punk bands had to perform underground. The singer hopes he’ll be able to make a change in the lives of the homeless in his country.
Image Copyright : by Sam D’Cruz / 123rf.com