Student Portrait

My name is Alinn. In 1992, I was born in Kyaing Tone Township, Shan State. I am the oldest among my siblings. I have one brother and three sisters. My father was a mechanic, and my mother was a tailor.

When I was two years old, I was adopted by my aunt. Unfortunately, my aunt passed away from a heart attack when I was eight, so my grandmother and another aunt took care of me after that. Growing up with my aunts and grandmother, I never got to live with my parents.

In 2006, my mother passed away and my father was arrested by soldiers. From that moment, we lost contact with our father. My aunt brought my other siblings to live with my grandmother. Our lives were very hard, but our aunt was a motherly figure to us. She worked so hard to support all of us and never got married just to support our education. She always told us to study hard because she did not have an opportunity to study like we did when she was young.

After I finished high school, we learned that my father was in a refugee camp. My aunt wanted me to go to the camp and look after him. When I got to the refugee camp, I hardly recognized my father even though I was very excited and happy to see him again.

While I was living in the camp, I thought my future was at a stake. Luckily, I met a person who is a politician, and he was kind enough to teach me English. A few months later, I got an opportunity to join Kaw La Junior College. After studying for four years, I finally got a bachelor’s degree in Public Health. After that, I was offered an internship opportunity in Chiang Mai.

I was chosen to work at Shan State Development Foundation (SSDF). I worked at Loi Tai Leng Clinic for three months and Chiang Mai for three months. After the internship program, I chose to stay in Chiang Mai and continued working as a public health officer because I wanted to study and continue my education. Later, I applied to the General Educational Development (GED) program at Bridging Educational Access to Migrants (BEAM).

 About Alinn

  • Age: 31
  • Ethnicity: Lisu, Shan
  • Country: Myanmar

 School & Program

  • Payap University
  • Bachelor’s, Hospitality Industry Management
  • Withdrawn

Goals & Dreams

  • Manage a tour company
  • Own a restaurant

 Loan Details

  • Loan Amount: $5,025
  • Amount Left To Fund: $3,900
  • Contract Duration: 12 years
  • Status: In Repayment
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What Others Are Saying About Alinn

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While I was preparing for the GED exam, my aunt was admitted to the hospital because of a blood clot in her brain. Sadly, I had to quit the program and work to cover her medical expenses.

In 2016, my organization relocated to Myanmar. Because of my family situation, I stayed back in Chiang Mai and found another job to support my family. I worked two jobs at once to save more money since I planned to continue my university education the following year.

It is my dream to earn a university degree before I return to Myanmar. Having a university degree is very important for young people. Without it, you are unable to find a good job. In March 2016, my fourth sister came to Chiang Mai. In order to take care of her, I once again had to give up on a chance to continue my education.

I let my sister apply for the GED program, but she didn’t pass the exam. Later, she took English classes at BEAM but because she lacked legal documentation, she could not continue higher education. Nevertheless, I found a job for her, so she worked and studied English at the same time. I worked for a Chinese family as a cook and translator for their business for two years.

Currently, I am studying at Payap University majoring in Hospitality Industry Management. Upon graduation, I would like to return to Myanmar and start a career in the hotel and tourism industry. Myanmar is rapidly changing, and I want people around the world to see how beautiful and developed it is. I hope I will be able to build a successful career after my graduation.

Written by Alinn with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.



“Upon graduation, I would like to return to Myanmar and start a career in the hotel and tourism industry.”

Q&A With Alinn

Survey Fun

What is your favorite memory?
Reunion with my father at the refugee camp
How would your friends describe you?
Kind and helpful
What is the one thing that isn’t taught in school but should be?
Driving and cooking
What is/was your favorite subject in school?
What skill or ability do you most wish you had (but lack today)?
ICT skills and drawing
If you could do anything you wanted now, what would it be?
See the ocean
Where would you most like to travel?
Snowy mountains
What’s your dream job?
To have my own restaurant in my hometown

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