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My Name is Omma: Learning to Thrive After Conflict

It is not easy to live under trauma, especially when you see the people you love dying in front of you, your village burning down, and you cannot leave because you have no money. This is what happened to me a few years ago. Today, I can still remember these tragic scenes, the sounds of gunshots, and the stories of some relatives suffering sexual assaults when trying to escape the attacks in our community.  

My name is Omma, I’m 16 years old, and I could rebuild my life and seek a better future after facing the Genocide in my community in Myanmar.  

Before the conflict, we were living in peace and harmony. I was uneducated and never had the chance to attend school or get formal training. But we could somehow succeed until the conflict started. I remember living under tremendous stress in our village since I never knew what could happen to us during the conflict. We could not afford to flee, so we needed to stay and try to survive.

Since we couldn’t leave our homes, our business started to lose money, the job opportunities were few, and I didn’t have the necessary skills or experience to find a job. The financial difficulties were enormous, but I felt I needed to find a solution to be able to survive and navigate these circumstances. 

When I heard about the Community Learning Center, I thought it could be a good opportunity to start changing the reality I was facing.

They offered a safe space where I could meet other survivors, and besides, I could finally receive some education and be able to transform my reality. The classes I took helped me tremendously, not only in getting professional skills but also in gaining self-confidence to speak with others and know how to take care of my health and well-being.

The positive outcomes were numerous, but most importantly, I learned a new skill that I now use to generate income for me and my family. I never thought I could have such a talent. And I was only able to discover that after joining this program. I joined the tailoring classes and became a seamstress very quickly.

Now, I’m able to stand on my own feet and be a role model for my family and neighbors.

I discovered that I have a talent for sewing clothes and making a steady income from that, but I also learned that I have the talent to teach others and spread the knowledge I gain. After living through all this trauma and seeing death so close, I can now see a beautiful future where I can thrive and help others do the same.

I will be forever grateful to Women for Women International and its partner in Myanmar for providing this opportunity to me.   

Header photo credit: Gift Habeshaw

Disclaimer: Omma's real name and photo have not been used in this blog post to protect her identity and ensure her safety. 

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