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First times for the Youth and for the Catalysts!

Yair Lynn Naing, 20 , Management Step, Myanmade

Catalyst Camille Bru

Life Project Center Hlaing Thar Yar, Myanmar

From Camille’s Side :

Extending your VISA in Myanmar has something of a never ending TV series… In non COVID-times, we would do what we call a VISA-run. We’d print 2 documents, and 5 passport photos, jump on a bus or plane to a neighboring country, and happily come back. This would keep us legal for the next 3 months. But with the current situation, the government has “simplified” the in-country-VISA extension process. Unfortunately, the government employees don’t all have the same information, or all of it, and they obviously don’t speak English (not that any French government employee would ever be expected to speak English either, why am I complaining!?). But fortunately, the world is full of helpful and generous people that are ready to get out of their way to help you!

After about 200 emails and 2000 whatsapp messages with an immigration specialist, 3 trips to different ministries in Yangon city centre, in 3 weeks, I gathered about 15 different recommendation letters, official documents, passport photocopies, stamps, etc, and I was able to obtain the Graal: A recommendation letter from the government, to say that our work is necessary and that we should be allowed to stay. (TV show, I told you!)

It took a lot of effort, but this was just the start!!!

This week was the final exam, at the immigration office, the hour of truth, did we pass or did we fail?

Thank god we have the most amazing and motivated Youth! When I asked several managers if one of them could come with me, a few turned me down. But Yair Lynn Naing, was kind enough to say:

“Yes I want to come with you. But I am afraid of speaking English!” I smiled inside, thinking, your English is 2000 times better than my Burmese…

From Yair Lynn Naing’s Side :

“I decided to go with Camille because I want to help her. I thought, If I go with her, I will learn how to renew Visa and learn English. And I wanted to go outside! I felt lucky because I have never gone to Immigration office in Yangon. Actually, before she asked me, I knew nothing about visas and passports. I had only heard. Now I have little knowledge about Visa extension.

When we arrived at the immigration office, we were lucky to meet Min Min, an employee that explained to me the process. Because we didn't know what to do, and Camille can’t speak Myanmar language. We copied some documents, Camille filled out the forms, we went to the different offices and with Min Min' help we now knew what to do! But we had to leave the passports there and come back the next day. So on Thursday, we went again. We had to wait in line in front of that office. Camille told me to go copy some documents while she waited. She went inside, and after a few minutes, she told me that we needed to change money. We looked for a bank. I didn't know how to use an ATM, I never did it before. Camille showed me how to use it. I thanked Camille. And she went again to the Immigration office to pay. After a few minutes, she showed me like this 👍. I was happy that she was ok for Visa. One more day. Tomorrow she can pick up the passports and the Visa!”

What I liked most about this experience was that Camille and I went to change money to the bank. I learned how to change money and how to renew the Visa. Now I don't know how I feel. But I am happy to help you.

And would you do it again? “If I can help. I want to help everything for people in the world.”


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