HPAKANT, Burma — A two-day concert held last week in the Hpakant jade mining area of Kachin state successfully raised funds for the Kachin relief effort, according to local youth leaders who organized the event.
The concert featuring Kachin youth was held on the grounds of a school in Ginsi Seng Ra village on May 15 and 16. The concert organizers also received assistance from the 6th battalion of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), a youth leader told the Kachin News Group.
Donations were made by prominent local jade dealers and miners. Donations were also made by audience members who were mostly residents of Lawng Hkang (Lonkhin), Hpakant, Seng Tawng, Gwi Hka and Tamahkan areas.
All concert performances were filmed for an upcoming DVD. Proceeds from the sale of the DVD will go towards providing assistance for internally displaced people, said a youth organizer.
The head of the KIA's 6th battalion Major Nhkum Zau Doi addressed the audience on the opening night of the concert. “Hpakant township has barely had any fighting although there is a lot of fighting in the rest of Kachin state. The Kachin revolution is supported by the people both financially and politically”, he added.
The Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the political-wing of the KIA once again started taxing jade from the Hpakant area following the end of the group's 17-year ceasefire with the central government last year.
Of the estimated 75,000 people who have been displaced by the conflict in Kachin and neighboring Shan states more than 50,000 are thought to be sheltering in areas controlled by the KIO or in neighboring China.