My name is Aung Aung. My parents left home to find jobs along the Thai-Myanmar border. Later they brought me to Mae Sot to study at the Children’s Development Centre (CDC) School, which offers affordable education to migrant students.
When I arrived at CDC School, I had culture shock and was afraid of speaking publicly in school because in my town, nobody dared to speak out in class. Thus, because I was so bad at public speaking, I was a poor student in the classroom. I did not even dare to walk in front of a crowd of people because I was too shy.
Life would have been isolating without any hobbies, so I joined the Karen Done Dance Group. This was an amazing time because I was the only one in the group who was not Karen (I am Burman). I could not speak any Karen, but it was a good experience for me to learn about other ethnic groups from my country.
Being a leader is also my hobby, although it is a skill. I became the classroom leader at CDC and joined the school’s student committee as a student representative. For three years, I volunteered at United Against Child Trafficking (United ACT) , which focuses on helping vulnerable children by way of advocacy and education through theater. At United ACT, I participated enthusiastically in their youth program.
My duties in the organization were to provide trainings about Myanmar, practice theater, attend workshops, create discussions, and build an accepting and safe team with my peers. From this experience, I gained uncountable skills including communication skills, leadership skills, self-confidence, public speaking skills, and better awareness of human rights.
Among my reasons for pursuing Social Science as a major, I believe a person’s hobbies and career should be the same because when we do what we enjoy, we find satisfaction and sustainability. Another reason is that I want to advocate for children’s rights in Myanmar and along the Thai-Myanmar border.
About Aung Aung
- Age: 21
- Ethnicity: Burmese
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- Chiang Mai University
- Bachelor’s, Social Science
- 3rd Year in Program
Goals & Dreams
- Become a teacher or social worker
- Reduce child labor and abuse in Myanmar
- Travel and photograph the world
- Loan Amount: $5,175
- Amount Left To Fund: $4,825
- Contract Duration: 12 years
- Status: In School
What Others Are Saying About Aung Aung
I am concerned about religious conflict in Myanmar. In my hometown, most people are Buddhist and very conservative, with many believing that nationalism is a way to protect against the influence of other religions and beliefs; few accept or pay respect to other religions and cultures. Thus, “negative nationalism” has arisen and led to conflict between Buddhists and the country’s many minority groups. With education, I hope to encourage diversity and respect for all religions in my country.
When I return to Myanmar after graduation, I will seek a job in the NGO sector with an organization like Equality Myanmar, Save the Children, or Burma ACT, which advocates for children’s rights and tackles child trafficking issues. I have seen many children working before the age of 18, as well as some who were trafficked or victimized by rape. There are many situations that make children feel vulnerable and force them into child labor. This leads to poverty, political conflict, and family problems.
With my degree, I will be able to offer political suggestions and give effective advice to governments to improve child protection laws, reduce profiteering from underage labor, and raise awareness about such issues among parents, governments, and the private sector. By doing so, I plan to improve children’s rights in my community and work toward the eradication of child labor and trafficking.
To sum up, I understand that being a leader is not easy, but to create a just world, it is essential to promote fair attitudes among everyone without discriminating against any race, color, or religion. With changed attitudes—along with cooperation of organizations, government, and the community—we can work to reduce violence in our country, especially the abuse of children. To reach this goal, I will finish my university studies and overcome the many challenges to being part of this process of change.
Written by Aung Aung with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“I believe a person’s hobbies and career should be the same because when we do what we enjoy, we find satisfaction and sustainability.”