Dear friends and family,
I met Htoo Ko in 2014 when I went to Myanmar to ordain as a monk. He was very kind and took me to his village and family home.
Below is the story of what happened to Htoo Ko and his family, which caused them to go homeless due to Covid, followed by the Myanmar military coup in 2021, preventing them from being able to remove kidney stones from Htoo Ko’s mother. Her life is now on the line if they are unable to raise funds to pay for surgery which is scheduled for September 29th. A total of $4800 is needed for the surgery. $3300 has already been raised. Please help!
Htoo Ko’s story -
After l graduated, l became a professional tour guide and used to work with different travel agencies and then started my own tour in 2018. Being a tour guide was such a great job for me that l was able to take care of not only my family members but also around 20 orphans and poor kids too. Unfortunately, we lost our father back in 2019. He was diagnosed with liver cancer, and when we realized it was too late but l did my best to let him go smoothly by getting him hospitalized at one of the best private hospitals for about two months. It was the saddest day for my family and me and it broke our hearts. It was difficult for us to keep moving forward without him. I have stopped working since 2020 due to the pandemic, which was ok in the beginning, but after a few months, we found difficulties to keep living without income and so I tried very hard to get another job during the pandemic. Eventually, l found a job teaching English language and l got some students by the end of 2020 and taught them English language and got some income.
The real problem started last year after the military coup. Last year on the 1st of February was the military coup, and then they detained our senior figures including AUNG SAN SUU KYI . After that, millions of people, including myself, demonstrated to return democracy and political leaders. Unfortunately, many innocent and peaceful protesters were shot and killed by the military with real bullets. People got very angry but weren’t scared and kept protesting. Many celebrities were arrested by the military, and many fled to hide in the free territory to be safe, as their names were put on the military blacklist.
In the middle of last year even my name got listed on the military blacklist as an activist. After l heard that, l fled and hid from the military. By the end of last year my brother rang me and said my mother was not in good health because of kidney stones . Back in 2020 the doctor found two kidney stones but we were broke by that time so my mother didn’t remove them. The stones kept getting bigger and bigger so the doctor advised my brothers to remove her stones on both kidneys by laser as soon as we could. Otherwise, her bloodstream would become blocked and damage her kidneys. Unfortunately, we couldn't do that as l was still hiding from the military as well as being unable to afford it. My brothers wanted me to come back home because that’s what my mother wanted but l couldn’t so I asked my friends to find a way. In the beginning of this year my friend phoned me and said they found a way to set me free by bribing the military officer to take my name off the blacklist but obviously, being broke, l couldn’t offer a bribe, so my friend said they will discuss options with my brothers . A few days later my brother phoned me, letting me know that l was free now and could come back home. l was very surprised to hear that so the next day l took the bus from Rakhine to Yangon . When l arrived back home l was very happy to see my brothers, and my mother was delighted too . The next day l talked with the doctor about my mother’s health and the doctor said the stones are bigger now and are killing my mother that’s why she is in a lot of pain. The doctor advised us to remove these stones by laser but it would cost a lot. It was more than difficult for me to find that money and the only thing left was our lovely home, so when l arrived back home l discussed with my brothers about selling our home but l was very shocked to hear that they had already sold our new lovely home for bribing the military office to set me free and now we have to move on the 1st of February. l was very shocked but on the other hand they did that just to let me be back in public freely. On the first of February this year we moved on to the street and became a homeless family. After that, we collected bottles and cans from the streets to get food.
My mother is in the hospital now, in very serious condition because she couldn’t handle her pain anymore. The operation is scheduled in a few days but as homeless man l can’t afford the operation cost by myself but l got some help from my friends and some of my neighbors, but still not enough to be able to cover the operation . Our life is pretty tough over here and we are in need of help to be able save our mother’s life.