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In the Spring of 1988, Tim Aye-Hardy was just a normal college student, having a good time hanging out with his friends — until one day, a fellow student was shot and killed by the police. This was the spark that set off a nationwide pro-democracy movement in Burma, known as the 8888 Uprising.

Almost immediately, Aye-Hardy found himself in the middle of it, leading rallies and marches. But then the military dictatorship began to crack down on the student protesters and — virtually overnight — Aye-Hardy became a marked man, forced to live underground and eventually flee the country. Now, he is in the process of implementing a daring new project that will confront the country’s rampant child labor issues.

For the last 25 years, he has been living in the United States — separated from the life and people he left back in Burma. It wasn’t until a few years ago, when the country began opening up and transitioning toward a quasi-civilian government, that Aye-Hardy was able to return for a visit. But that visit reignited his drive to make Burma a more just and free society.

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