Campaigning for Robin Hood in WA

Campaigning for change article written on the 05 Jul 2011

Thet Win Aung is a volunteer intern for Oxfam Australia

My name is Thet Win Aung; I am from Myanmar (Burma), and doing a Master of Public Policy at Murdoch University with the support of Australian Leadership Award scholarship program of the AusAID in 2011.

I have chosen Oxfam to do my internship because Oxfam works in many sectors for poverty eradication, environmental protection, and empowering marginalized communities, and combating HIV/AIDS across the worldwide. In the past, I have worked with many international non-governmental organizations in Myanmar in the community development sectors and with people living with HIV across the country.

The first day of my internship in Oxfam was full of fun and excitement because that day was the global day of action for the Robin Hood Tax campaign. I had a chance to meet with many volunteers supporting the Robin Hood Tax campaign and we marched around Perth dressed in as Robin Hood, taking pictures with statues for the campaign.

In the afternoon, there was one crazy moment that was biting me that I couldn’t escape from. I never thought I would have to jump down into the Swan River in Perth but finally my good sense got the better of me when I saw my colleagues struggling to climb a statue which is 10 m away from the bank of the river. Luckily I was able to help them get up. It was really amazing and exciting for me (especially since the water was extremely cold). I was also feeling afraid of the cops – to be honest, I don’t think we were allowed to go down into the river. However I think a few people learned more about the campaign when the photo I took ended up on page two of the West Australian.

It was the first time I had learned about the intention of the Robin Hood Tax. I came to realize what it could mean: an international financial transaction tax of 0.05 percent could raise hundreds of billions to be used for combating climate change, supporting overseas development as well as domestic services such as health and education. This kind of contribution could help to save millions of lives in poor countries around the world, including my own country.

Burma is one of the least developed countries in the world and people are suffering the impact of environmental degradation, erratic weather conditions and increasing catastrophic weather events. Cyclone Nargis on 2008 took nearly 140,000 lives and left 2.4 million people severely affected in the delta area of my country.

I have never been to Australia before and I hope to have many more wonderful experiences and fun from studying, learning, having a diverse range of knowledge, and completing my internship with Oxfam Australia in WA.

Thet Win Aung is a volunteer intern for Oxfam Australia