Monday 19 March 2018

Sweater sale boosts Suu Kyi funds

Presenters show a sweater hand-knitted by Aung San Suu Kyi during an auction (AP)
Presenters show a sweater hand-knitted by Aung San Suu Kyi during an auction (AP)

Burma's cash-strapped opposition party is tapping into the prestige of its leader: two sweaters hand-knitted by Aung San Suu Kyi have been auctioned for 123,000 US dollars (£76,000).

A green-and-white sweater with a floral design sold at an auction to an anonymous bidder for 63 million kyat, (£46,000).

On Thursday, a Burma-based radio station won a bidding war for a multicoloured V-neck that fetched 49,000 US dollars (£31,000).

Ms Suu Kyi has not publicly reacted to the success of her party's two-day fundraiser, but aides said she was pleased with the results.

"Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is satisfied with the auction and the donations received," close aide Ko Ni said. "She needs a lot of cash to carry out projects for the welfare of the people." Daw is a term of respect in Burma.

The auction was part of a fundraising event organised by Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party to raise money for education of poor children and health projects in Burma.

Both sweaters were knitted by Ms Suu Kyi at least 25 years ago when she was living in the United Kingdom and raising her two children, Ko Ni said.

"She made them when she was busy working, studying and taking care of her children," Ko Ni said. "She wants to send the message that people should not stay idle but be diligent."

Ms Suu Kyi, a 67-year-old former political prisoner and winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, has become Burma's biggest celebrity as the country transitions from a half-century of military rule.

She is generally guarded about the family she left behind in the UK - but the auction indicates a new willingness to share her family history with an adoring public.

Press Association

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