In 1948, Burma gained independence from British colonial rule. In 1989, the government changed the country’s name to Myanmar. CWB – USA follows the U.N. in recognizing Myanmar as the country’s official name.
In the 70 years since Myanmar gained independence, the country has experienced waves of violence, political unrest, and military rule. The country has 135 recognized ethnic groups. Under the constitution, the military is independent from the government.
The 8888 Uprising (08/08/88) was a pro-democracy demonstration. The National League for Democracy won the election in 1990, with Aung San Suu Kyi as the leader. However, the military placed her under house arrest. Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, spent 15 years under house arrest, between 1991–2012. Kyi is constitutionally barred from becoming president, but currently holds the role of State Counsellor (similar to Prime Minister).
CWB in Myanmar
Following the Nargis Cyclone of May 2008, Clowns Without Borders International prioritized tours to Myanmar. Clowns Without Borders chapters from Sweden, France, Belgium, and the U.S. collaborated with local artists in 2009. A few years later, these tours expanded to include performances and workshops at Children’s Training Schools. These are state-run institutions that house children who have been arrested by the state.