Burma: Dr. Cynthia
When Dr. Cynthia Maung fled the repression of Burma's military dictatorship in the late 1980s, she had no idea what the future would hold. Along with other pro-democracy activists, she made her way through the jungle to cross the border into Thailand and was soon providing medical assistance to thousands of sick and exhausted refugees who escaped with her.
During almost thirty years of exile, Dr. Cynthia has been helping to establish health centres in the refugee camps and organizing programs to train refugees as para-medics, laboratory technicians, trauma counsellors, and birth attendants. This work is happening in large part because Dr. Cynthia has the capacity and the courage to imagine a different future for herself and her fellow refugees. Rather than becoming hapless victims of the military regime, Dr. Cynthia and her colleagues are working for the future. Cynthia sees in their present work the foundations of a future health infrastructure in Burma's Karen State, in anticipation of the day when she and other refugees can safely return home.
Dr. Cynthia's work has attracted international honour. In 1999, His Excellency John Ralston Saul presented her with Canada's John Humphrey Freedom Award on behalf of Rights and Democracy in Montreal. In 2002, Dr. Cynthia was the recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, widely considered to be Asia's Nobel Prize, and was profiled as one of Time Asia's ' Asian Heroes' in 2003. As important as these honours are to bringing attention and support to the plight of the refugees, Cynthia looks forward to the day when she, along with an estimated 1 million other Burmese, will be able to reclaim their country and gain the right to live in a free and democratic society.
|Reviewed July 15, 2011||Publishing Policies|