This article, originally written 4 years ago, is now part of a fundraising campaign to showcase the work we did and to raise money to support the young people we worked with and their families before the pandemic and recent coup.
The organisation was set up as The Little Dragons, the development arm of the Yangon Dragons Rugby Football Club, it later merged with Crossing the Gain Line, a UK registered charity.
We all know dragons know how to make fire. But they also need to know how to put a fire out – for safety purposes. That’s why part of the Little Dragons Life Skills program includes a section on First Aid and Fire Safety.
When Thaw Lin, the Little Dragons First Aid and Fire Safety Officer, sent us this shopping list:
We thought – that’s an awful lot of flammable materials – and knew we were in for some serious fun.
We trawled the North Dagon roadside recycling centers for containers for the fuels, metal demo trays, and firewood. After some bafflement and mystified glances, we gathered together all we needed. At the petrol station they used an old-school metal jug and funnel to transfer the flammable liquids into the preloved plastic containers we’d just acquired.
We then made for the school and Thaw Lin, formerly a Platoon Commander in the Fire Service working at Uniteam Training; delivering safety training for Oil and Gas workers and Merchant Shipping crews, began the workshop. The Little Dragons were captivated by his lecture which consisted of the theory behind how fires are made, the different types of fire extinguishers, and which are best for different types of fire followed by a short First Aid section.
At the end of the lecture, we had quick drinks break then went off to do the practical. We must have looked a bit strange, it’s not often you see a group of young people carrying petrol, diesel, wood, and fire extinguishers down the street – in any country – let alone in suburban, semi-rural Yangon.
We hadn’t OK’ed it with the township authority because we couldn’t get hold of them in time but fortunately, the boss of the local fire service was eating breakfast in a tea shop on the way and Thaw Lin convinced him that we didn’t pose a threat to public health so he phoned through to get authorisation.
Once we arrived at the field face masks were donned and the practical demonstration began. A concoction of diesel and petrol was poured onto the wood and set alight and each Little Dragon got a turn to put out the fire. After calling out “Me! Me!” (Fire! Fire! In Burmese) they aimed the extinguisher at the base of the conflagration, squeezed the handle, and as it was a powder extinguisher and the fire went out. According to firesafetycentre.co.uk – dry powder fire extinguishers work by chemical reaction with the fire causing the particles to expand, chemically inhibiting combustion and expelling the oxygen thereby smothering the flames.
Ko Thint Myat was then on hand to reignite the wood for the next Little Dragon to take their turn. Right at the end of the demonstration, the fire brigade turned up to supervise. Better late than never!
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A small donation of £10 per month can help to feed a small family of two.
£25 will help to feed a family of four for two weeks.
£50 will feed a family for a month and get them desperately needed water purification tablets.
You can also donate for free by joining the Give as You Live Campaign.