With the theme of “The Journey to Age Equality”, the 2019 UN International Day of Older Persons was organized at Myanmar International Convention Center II in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday morning.
Union Minister for Labour, Immigration and Population U Thein Swe delivered a speech at the event to acknowledge the benefits of older persons for their past and present contributions in the society.
The 10th Goal of Sustainable Development set by the United Nations is aimed to reduce inequality within and among countries and aims to ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including through measures to eliminate discrimination, and to empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.
The Union Minister also said that the old persons should not be neglected in the social, economic and political affairs of the country.
In commemoration of this day, the government will present K 1 million each to the eldest man and the eldest woman of the country this year.
The government has implemented the National Social Pension Scheme in 2017-2018 fiscal year to support income security for the old persons. Under this programme, over 180,000 older people aged 85 and above are receiving K 30,000 every three months. The government is planning to reduce the age level and to increase the amount of fund for each older person.
From 2019-2020 fiscal year, the government will form the Inclusive Self-Help Group and the Social Strength at the village levels to help the old persons and younger generations. The budget has been allocated to form 150 groups of the Social Strength at the initial stage, and the programme will be extended in the following years.
The Union Minister conveyed the message at the event that each of these groups will receive K 1 million from the Department of Social Welfare and a certain amount of budgets from NGOs.
He concluded that the event was aimed not only to honour the senior citizens but also to apply the values and powers of these people in state-building processes.
Then, the message sent by UN Secretary-General was read by UN Resident & Coordinator Mr Andrew Krikwood.
Next, the outstanding and honourable old men and women received certificates, medicines and cash presented by the Union Minister U Thein Swe, Union Ethnic Affairs Minister Nai Thet Lwin, Chairperson of Myanmar National Human Rights Commission U Win Mra, Deputy Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement
U Soe Aung.
Union Minister U Thein Swe also accepted cash donation of Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, Ministry of Electricity and Energy, Ministry of Health and Sports, the Help Age International (Myanmar), Directorate of Industrial Collaboration, Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association.
Union Minister Nai Thet Lwin also received cash funds from Myanmar Red Cross Society, Myanmar Women’s Affairs Federation, Department of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Mechanization, and Department of Cooperative,
The 12 older persons from day-care centers performed with Zumba dance, and they were awarded with cash. The members of Social Strength played an opera and they received cash award from Union Minister Nai Thet Lwin and Deputy Minister U Kyi Min.
Next, the documentary video about caring older persons was shown and U Aung Myint, the senior citizen, expressed thanks.
The Union Minsters and the Deputy Ministers posed for document photo together with the older persons.
After the ceremony, they looked around photo exhibition on the activities of caring for older persons.
The ceremony was also attended by the wife of Union Election Commission Chairman, the wives of Union Ministers, the wife of Union Civil Service Board, the wife of Nay Pyi Taw Council Chairman, chairpersons of Hluttaw Affairs Committee, the wives of Deputy Ministers, the members of Nay Pyi Taw Council, the committee members of Yangon Region and Nay Pyi Taw Development Committee, Myanmar Women and Children Life Promoting Organization, Myanmar Women Affairs Federation, Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association, social organizations, UN agencies, the honourable and outstanding older persons and the invited guests.
At the ceremony, each older person received K 100,000 and each honourable older person K50,000 and other gifts.
(Translated by Aung Khin)