Student Portrait

My name is Ae Ying. My family lived in a small village 15 miles away from the city where I now call home in Southern Shan State, Myanmar. It is still enjoyable every time I recall memories of my life 19 years ago in the place where my family members lived together peacefully.

My parents were farmers and they worked very hard on our farms during the planting season. We were cheerful in the harvest season because it was time for farmers to take their crops back home to feed their families. My village was near the river where food was plentiful and no one had to worry about having enough to eat. However, our situation changed when we were forced to relocate by Burmese military troops. At that time, life was difficult for everyone in my village because we had nowhere to live or farm in the city.

I got into school after we moved to a city called Kun Heing.

When I was in the sixth grade in school, my mother passed away. After my mother passed away, I did my best to stay in school. However, it was so hard because of our financial situation, so I left school in seventh grade and followed my father to Thailand. While living in Thailand for many years as a migrant worker, I did not have a chance to go to school because I had to work to support my family.

When I came to work in Chiang Mai I had a chance to attend English and computer classes at Shan Youth Power (SYP) for five months. After that I continued studying English at a migrant learning center for four months. I also went to The Best Friend Library to learn English. Working full time and going to class in the evening was difficult, and every day I motivated myself to have more energy.

In 2013, I volunteered with SYP in order to help my people. I worked as a volunteer teaching children in construction camps. I taught basic English and Shan to children from Burma.

 About Ae Ying

  • Age: 35
  • Ethnicity: Shan
  • Country: Myanmar

 School & Program

  • Payap University
  • Bachelor’s, English Communication
  • Graduated

Goals & Dreams

  • Improve Myanmar’s education standards
  • Become a teacher

 Loan Details

  • Loan Amount: $6,775
  • Amount Left To Fund: $0
  • Contract Duration: 13 years
  • Status: Repaid in Full


Ae Ying, in her own words

Currently I work at the SEED Learning Center in partnership with SYP. I am responsible for teaching children and working with their parents. I work with people in construction communities as a community support worker giving advice about health care and education.

During my work at SEED, I studied at the BEAM Education Foundation for the General Education Development (GED) certificate. In 2015, I passed the GED examination. In order to improve my work more effectively, I need further education. I have always dreamed of going to a university so I can bring knowledge and freedom for my community; I will do my best in college.

I am so pleased that I received a scholarship from BEAM and a loan from Zomia which will help me continue my studies at college this year. I chose to study in the English Communication program at Payap University. Since this major focuses on effective English literacy and communication skills, I believe it will enable me to build connections with a wider population as English is emerging as the predominant language of international communication.

With this major, I expect to study many things such as creative writing, reading, translating, and communication. This is a good chance for me to develop my skills and to get a better understanding of English literature that I could not learn in my country. I hope to study with different people so I can develop my language skills. Therefore, I believe choosing the English Communication program will benefit me and my home country.

In the future, after completing my education I would like to become a teacher. This goal is important to me because when I was a child I needed to leave school because of a difficult family situation. The situation has inspired me to want to become a teacher and contribute my knowledge and life experiences to help others keep on learning.

My country needs more educated people in order to build a healthier country and society, but sadly the current education system is not performing well enough. Adults and children in our community need the skills that education provides in order to improve our society and keep the country moving in a positive direction. After graduating from the university I will use my skills to serve the community so that people can benefit from education like I have. I will start working with organizations whose primary concern is education in Myanmar.

Moreover, I plan to work closely with government schools to improve their education standards. I hope to inspire children to keep learning in school and make the children feel safe in a classroom and free from violence. Together, my organization and the Myanmar government will construct an effective learning program, and more children will want to go to school.

The reason I will work with government organization is that they have a bigger influence on education in Myanmar, and it will give me a chance to learn and use my skills to make a positive change. I aim to participate in fixing the education policy to improve the quality of education and promote equal opportunity for everyone.

Written by Ae Ying with editing assistance from Carolyn, one of Zomia’s volunteer editors.

Ae Ying

Ae Ying

“My ambition is to be successful with my education and become a teacher.”

Q&A With Ae Ying

Survey Fun

What is your favorite memory?
The first day I earned money
How would your friends describe you?
Hardworking, empathetic, and confident
What is the one thing that isn’t taught in school but should be?
How to be patient
What skill or ability do you most wish you had (but lack today)?
Being a good speaker, and able to make a crying person laugh
Where would you most like to travel?
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Pork steak and bacon soup
What’s your dream job?
My ambition is to be successful with my education and become a teacher
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
I see myself as an educated person working working with the minister of education in Burma to improve the education system

Doi Inthanon

The Roof of Thailand