SEATTLE — Myanmar is still an impoverished country, but women there are working to address its issues. Through puppet theater performances, impoverished children in the country are learning about good health practices, such as the hazards of smoking and the importance of handwashing. Women in Myanmar are using their resources to help make a positive change in their impoverished nation.
Women Teach Impoverished Children About Good Health
Everyone needs to be in good health, yet impoverished countries often struggle with quality health services and practices. Therefore, it is crucial for impoverished persons to do everything they can to ensure good health by taking small steps. Han Su Yin and May Zin Thant Thant are young trainee marionette puppet masters who visit impoverished villages to teach children about health through puppet shows. Ma Ma Naing, who has been a puppet master for more than 30 years, trains Yin and Thant and founded the Mandalay Marionettes Theater in the 1980s.
Historically, puppet masters in Myanmar have usually been male, but Naing and other theater groups have been working to include more women in the traditional art form. Naing told Public Radio International, “Everybody here loves these puppets, and it’s a very important part of our culture. So, why should it be just men who continue this tradition?” These women help improve health in Myanmar by devoting most of their time to poor children during the week. Teaching children about health through these puppet shows is a wonderful way to get them engaged and aware of their health.
Puppet Shows Make Learning About Health Fun
The women use their puppet shows to spread knowledge in the communities. One of the puppet shows tells the children that smoking is bad by showing one of the puppets turning down a cigarette, while the other puppet is coughing from smoking. Another show teaches the children a song about washing their hands, which the children sing along with the puppets. These visual shows hold the children’s attention while teaching them about a serious matter.
Despite the poverty that is still prevalent in the country, the people of Myanmar need to practice good hygiene using the resources they have. Teaching children about good health practices early on can have a positive impact all around the world. The puppet masters help improve health in Myanmar by limiting the deaths of people in rural villages, especially children, through their teachings.
Women Continue to Work to Improve Health in Myanmar
Using traditional cultural practices to improve health in Myanmar has proven to be an innovative way to save lives, both in Myanmar and elsewhere. Naing travels around the world with her theater company to help promote good health among the impoverished. Her goals are to continue these shows and train other women to bring health education to people living in poverty.
The puppet shows in Myanmar get children thinking about real issues and help them become aware of the steps they can take to protect their health. Women are making a huge difference, starting with providing guidance to these children about good health practices.
– Kelly Kipfer