Student Portrait

My name is Soe. I was born in Karen State, Burma. There are eight people in my family. My mother is a homeworker, and my father is a farmer.

I am a member of an ethnic minority with limited resources and opportunities. Many of Myanmar’s ethnic groups have faced a vicious cycle of political turmoil and economic crisis for decades. The situation for my community has often been terrible; there is ongoing civil war between the military government and armed ethnic groups.

Because I was raised in a conflict zone, life has been challenging. We have faced many obstacles. Our villages were burned down, and even now the Burmese military tortures villagers. My family fled into the jungle, then moved to Noh Poe Refugee Camp in Thailand.

I studied for three years at Noh Poe and then returned to my village. Because of political corruption, limited education opportunities, and financial issues, I have seen many young students kicked out of school.

Many youth move to Bangkok in order to help their parents financially. My generation often sacrifices education in order to work and survive.

I spent eight years at Thoo Mweh Khee Migrant Learning Centre, where I completed a two-year diploma program. While studying there, I developed a passion for computers. From a cartwheel to the supercomputer, the evolution of machines has fascinated me like nothing else. These developments exemplify the prowess of the human mind to perceive things rationally and make them useful in performing complicated tasks with ease.

After graduating from Thoo Mweh Khee, I became a computer teacher. As an IT teacher, I taught students how to set up operating systems, learn names of software and hardware, and use editing programs such as Photoshop. Over a year, I managed several different groups of students. I discovered that some were really interested in computer programming. Yet because there was no teacher with a degree in computer science or software engineering, no one could teach them. This experience compelled me to embrace software engineering as a field of study.

 About Soe

  • Ethnicity: Karen
  • Country: Myanmar

 School & Program

  • Chiang Mai University
  • Bachelor’s, Software Engineering
  • 3rd Year in Program

Goals & Dreams

  • Become a computer programming teacher
  • Improve technology skills in Myanmar
  • Help underprivileged children go to school

 Loan Details

  • Loan Amount: $4,000
  • Amount Left To Fund: $3,550
  • Contract Duration: 11 years
  • Status: In School
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What Others Are Saying About Soe

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Later, I was looking for a way to study for the General Educational Development exam so I could enroll in a university. Fortunately, I was offered this chance after I took the GED entrance exam at Children’s Development Centre. I prepared for the GED exam at BEAM Education Foundation in Chiang Mai. The experience at BEAM was excellent because it not only prepared me for the GED exam itself but also provided me with a wide range of other knowledge. There was a myriad of other skills that I learned from highly accessible educational resources outside the classroom such as Thai culture, human rights, religion, and fellowship with students from Singapore.

In conclusion, I genuinely believe that if I can earn a degree in software engineering, it will be of great benefit both for myself and my future students, allowing me to empower them and engage them in computer programming. As a determined, passionate, and strongly committed person, I want to earn a degree to help others in our society develop computer technology skills.

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



“We have entered a wonderful technological age. In my opinion, we need to develop and help Myanmar compete with other countries. Once back in my country, I will share my competencies and knowledge to help educate my people and increase Myanmar’s capacity in terms of technology.”



“I love what I am studying, as it greatly matches my interests. I have a passion for programming because I love technology and learning new things. I believe IT skills are essential in helping people in Myanmar compete by allowing them to design software and develop web-based business solutions.”

Q&A With Soe

Survey Fun

What is your favorite memory?
Meeting with my best friend at the supermarket
How would your friends describe you?
Smart, kind, handsome, hardworking, friendly, and optimistic
What is the one thing that isn’t taught in school but should be?
Computer programming
What is/was your favorite subject in school?
What skill or ability do you most wish you had (but lack today)?
Reading comprehension, creative thinking, and advocacy skills
If you could do anything you wanted now, what would it be?
Flying in the sky
Where would you most like to travel?
Bagan, an ancient city in Myanmar
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Rice with fish paste and vegetables
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Supporting children who have limited educational opportunities and financial challenges so they can go to school

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