Silent Yangon Project Highlights Art Skills of Deaf Children in Myanmar

Myanmar, Yangon, charity, culture

The eight kids surrounded by sponsors and Pamela McCourt Francescone, Founder of Link for Aid

Silent Yangon, a book of photographs taken by children for whom the city is a silent world, is a Link for Aid project in partnership with Asian Trails, Samsung Myanmar and Sule Shangri-La Yangon. It was launched at the end of March and is a unique testimony of children bearing artistic skills despite their physical handicap.

“In April last year eight deaf children from the Mary Chapman School spent a week on location in Yangon and, using smartphones, they took over 18,000 photographs. The best of their work is in this 160-page book that captures the essence of one of Asia’s most alluring cities,” said Pamela McCourt Francescone, Founder of Link for Aid and Publisher of Silent Yangon.

The final product of the Silent Yangon project, a coffee-table book of the same title, was presented to the public and the media at the end of March at the Sule Shangri-la Yangon. The project aimed to give four boys and four girls, aged from 12 to 15, a chance to prove their self-worth and mettle, and they rose to the challenge, mastering the technology and the medium of photography. They received an opportunity to express their inner strengths and creativity and proving that silence is not an obstacle to beautiful art.

Samsung Myanmar’s Public Relations and Citizenship Manager Ko Soe Thura expressed his brand’s excitement for the young artists. “We are so proud of having supported them and what they have accomplished. At the same time, we are so honored to be part of this significant project by letting our smartphone technology give voice to these talented young individuals. At Samsung, we have done many great things that many people thought impossible,” he declared.

Moreover, Asian Trails Managing Director Thomas Carnevale said, “These children do not know the impact of what they have accomplished. They have just given inspiration to kids their age; not just to deaf children, but to all the youth out there, that life is really and absolutely hopeful, no matter the circumstances you are in. Further, they have done their country a huge favour by painting the beauty of this vibrant city in the images they captured.”

Daw Nyunt Nyunt Thein, Principal Mary Chapman School for the Deaf, thanked Link for Aid and all those who collaborated to make the project a success. “We are grateful to all those who supported the Silent Yangon project. It means a tremendous lot to the students who participated in the workshops and the actual photo sessions. It will definitely impact the way they see themselves and the way they see their future,” she stated.

The eight children were mentored by the Italian photographer Francesca Moscheni, whose ZeroZero studio in Milan designed the book, in collaboration with Silvia Grazioli and Gaia Guiduzzi of 1010design. Italian filmmaker Marco Armando Piccinini spent the week on location with the children and is making a film telling the story of how these young people with disabilities were inspired by technology to express their resourcefulness and artistic talents. The film will be released in Q2 2019.

The book was printed in Yangon by U Win Aung, Than Hyike Yadanar Printer and is distributed in bookshops and selected outlets in Myanmar by Dr. Thant Thaw Kaung, Myanmar Book Centre Publishing. Proceeds from sales of Silent Yangon go to Link for Aid projects for underprivileged children in Myanmar, impacting on the quality of their lives, supporting their education and opening up new opportunities for their futures.

“I want to thank our partners for their support, and my thanks also go to these gifted children for the hope, beauty, and inspiration they have shared with us through the images in this book,” said McCourt Francescone.