My name is Cheery. A mother of two, I am now working to earn a master’s degree in international business law to sharpen my knowledge while taking care of my second child.
I am a hard-working and ambitious person, and have nearly two decades of experience working on human rights and political issues. I am Chin, an ethnic minority from Northwestern Burma.
Like many Chin, I have faced challenges in life. My father left Burma in 1989, while my mother left for Mizoram, India, in 1991. I was left with my grandmother to continue my primary school. Later, I was sent to a Christian boarding school.
After finishing high school, I also left Burma to seek better education. I was advised by my teachers that if I continued my education in Burma, I might get into trouble with the government since I had begun to develop critical and political views.
After arriving in Mizoram, I continued my education while volunteering with a Chin women’s organization—but the classroom was unwelcoming for people from Burma. I was bullied often just because I was from Burma. I left school after completing higher secondary school.
In 2003, there was a mob movement against undocumented Chin refugees and migrant workers, and nearly 20,000 Chin were sent back to Burma. The world knew nothing about the Chin refugees; even the Burmese democracy movement had little knowledge about the situation. After this mass mob movement, I became a full-time human rights activist.
For over 15 years, I was absent from Myanmar, living and working in exile. I worked to address human rights violations committed by both state and non-state actors. As the founder and coordinator of Women’s League of Chinland, I raised funds for a safe-house to shelter victims of domestic violence. I worked on health and education initiatives, among them a program to provide mobile medical clinics in villages throughout Chin State. My colleagues risked their lives because the military was wary of organizations highlighting human rights abuses.
- Age: 39
- Ethnicity: Chin
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- University of Salford
- Master’s, International Business Law
Goals & Dreams
- Become a government official to help my country and people
- Build a house so I can stop moving around as I’ve done for most of my life
- Loan Amount: $4,575
- Amount Left To Fund: $3,775
- Contract Duration: 12 years
- Status: In Deferment
What Others Are Saying About Cheery
During this time—and continuing today—I have been involved in grassroots human rights education, documentation of rights violations, and advocacy at the United Nations. I have contributed to many human rights mechanisms, shadow reports, and lobbying efforts at UN bodies in Geneva and New York, and have presented at several of these organizations.
I have carried out research on international investment and trade in Myanmar and learned that information about the contents of the Bilateral Trade Investment agreements is strictly limited; moreover, no dispute resolution mechanisms exist. As a result, I would like to gain academic knowledge in the field of international law. The International Business Law program at Salford University and Robert Kennedy College will complement my existing skills and experience and enable me to better contribute to the development of my country.
I value education so much, and I never stop seeking an informal or formal education. Achieving higher education means building one’s capacity and potential to the highest.
In five years’ time, I see myself in a more powerful political position to foster sound economic progress, political liberalization, and social transformation that guarantees equality, justice, and freedom for the people. My education will enhance my capacity to do this. I hope to become a government official to help my country and my people.
Written by Cheery with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“I value education so much, and I never stop seeking an informal or formal education. Achieving higher education means building one’s capacity and potential to the highest.”
“In five years’ time, I see myself in a more powerful political position to foster sound economic progress, political liberalization, and social transformation that guarantees equality, justice, and freedom for the people. ”