I was born into an extended family in Muse, located in Northern Shan State, Myanmar. I am Kachin, a minority ethnic group who traditionally inhabit Myanmar’s far north.
My native name is Hkun Hpring, which means perfection. There are ten members of my family. I am the second child among five siblings. I have two younger sisters and a younger brother studying in a school in Mae Sot, Thailand. I also have an older brother, who is more like a friend, studying at a Bible school in Mae Sot. My parents, my aunt, and my grandmother currently live in Mae La Refugee Camp near Mae Sot. My father is an NGO worker, while my mother and aunt make a living by sewing.
I have not lived in Myanmar since I was very young. My family and I left because of civil wars in Shan State.
In 2001, fighting between armed ethnic groups and the military government took place frequently in our village. Moreover, it was difficult to make a living in my hometown. Hoping to find a better life, my family decided to move to Thailand.
My educational journey began in a migrant school in Mae Sot, where I studied until grade 3. In 2007, my family moved to Mae La Camp because it was unsafe to live in Mae Sot without legal documentation. From 2007 to 2010, I attended a primary school established by Karen Refugee Committee Education Entity (KRCEE) in Mae La Camp. After that, I continued my middle and high school education in the camp.
In 2016, I took a board examination held by KRCEE. This compulsory exam was taken by every grade 12 student in nine refugee camps along the Thai-Myanmar border. Surprisingly, I passed with outstanding scores. I attained the highest scores and earned first place among about 800 students from nine camps! This was the greatest achievement in my life so far.
- Age: 23
- Ethnicity: Kachin
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- Assumption University
- Bachelor’s, Business Administration
- 4th Year in Program
Goals & Dreams
- Become a marketing manager
- Start my own business
- Get all of my family out of the refugee camp
- Loan Amount: $9,300
- Amount Left To Fund: $8,675
- Contract Duration: 14 years
- Status: In School
What Others Are Saying About Cris
After high school, I attended Pu Taw Memorial Junior College (PTMJC) in Mae La, which is supported by the Institute of Higher Education. After two years, I graduated from PTMJC with an Associate of Arts Degree in General Studies. I hoped to continue my studies.
Since high school, I had been dreaming about going to an international university. However, my refugee education is not recognized internationally. Being a refugee, it seemed impossible to achieve my dream. I was discouraged and felt depressed. I was being brainwashed by the community I was in and the circumstances endured by refugees.
Moreover, there were many barriers to overcome in order to reach the next stage of my life. I was worried that I would end up working in construction or sugarcane and corn fields like some of my friends from high school. Despite these obstacles, I refused to give up. One of my strengths is that I have the diligence and persistence to reach my goals no matter what obstacles I encounter.
I discovered that a General Educational Development (GED) certificate could help me achieve my goals. Hence, I decided to pursue a GED. In 2018, I applied to one of the GED schools in Mae Sot; unfortunately, I was not offered admission. Despite this setback, I tried again. I applied to another GED training program at BEAM Education Foundation, located in Chiang Mai, and I got accepted. I studied at BEAM and earned my GED diploma in 2019.
Today I am enrolling in a business administration program at Assumption University. After graduating, I plan to dedicate myself to serving the Myanmar migrant community along the Thai-Myanmar border. I hope to spend the first few years after graduation working in the border region. I intend to work for a non-profit organization such as Mae Tao Clinic, where I will be able to serve the migrant community in various ways.
After working on the border for a few years, I will likely return to Myanmar and work for a successful, long-standing company or non-profit organization. I look forward to a future where I can make use of my knowledge and skills to help organizations achieve their goals.
Written by Cris with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“One of my strengths is that I have the diligence and persistence to reach my goals no matter what obstacles I encounter.”
“After working on the border for a few years, I will likely return to Myanmar and work for a successful, long-standing company or non-profit organization. I look forward to a future where I can make use of my knowledge and skills to help organizations achieve their goals.”