Safety in Arms
Safety In Arms
Rape as a weapon of war is still common practise in Burma, for many women the safest place is in a Independence Army uniform.
In Laiza, women take part in KIA basic training. Myitkyina Journal editor Seng Mai profiles new KIA recruit Nan San.
“My name is Nan san. Here I can show my face because I will never return home. In Putao, my hometown, Burma Soldiers are everywhere. All families are afraid their daughters will be raped, but here I feel Safe.
Since so many young men in Kachin state are drug addicts us young women are volunteering in the KIA in their place.
The KIA opens military education training to all women and men over 18, it takes 45 days for basic training. We have to wake up at 4AM to learn self-defense. In the evening, we are taught politics, law and Kachin history.
At first, I felt very tired and homesick, my shoulders were full of bruises form carrying a gun the whole day, but I soon got used to it.
I have to sleep with my gun, otherwise the trainer will take it and I’ll be punished for having a gun stolen. We can only leave our gun behind while bathing, when we much walk very far to wash in the stream, otherwise we have one litre of water a day for cleaning and another one for drinking.
Because of the war I gave up my dream of being a dancer. The day peace is announced, I will dance.”
Female recruits of the Kachin Independence Army have lunch during the military training at KIA headquarters in Laiza, Kachin State.
Nang San (C) a female recruit sits inside the camp during the military training at the KIA headquarters in Laiza, Kachin State.
Nang San prays before lunch during the military training at KIA headquarters in Laiza.
Uniform, blanket, mosquito net and some basic equipment for female KIA recruits.
Wkawn Lung, holds a plate as she leaves for lunch during the military training in Laiza.
Nang San sits inside the camp during military training in Laiza.