My mother loved the word HayMann so much that she decided she would give that name to her newborn if it was a girl. HayMann means winter in Pali, and in November of 1988, she gave birth to me, her youngest daughter. I was delivered by a community midwife at my home in Mandalay, Myanmar.
My family now consists of me, my father, my mother, and my brother. I had a sister but she passed away in 2010. I was born a Catholic although I have to admit I become less religious as I get older. When I was young, I had a hard time living far away and feeling disconnected from my father as he worked in Yangon while the family lived in Mandalay. My mother worked very late at that time because she was a high school teacher. Apart from those challenges, I was given full love and raised to be competent and confident.
I studied in Mandalay from kindergarten to high school. I passed my matriculation exam in 2005 and then studied distance education at Yadanabon University. In 2011, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English.
I worked as a private English tutor for two years with students three to seven years old. Those teaching years were unforgettable. In working there I realized that children are like clay—they can either be molded to become eminent or something else. I also worked at the front office operation at a training organization. There they trained me to be a professional front desk receptionist for hotels.
After training, I worked as a receptionist at several international hotels. Working in the service industry was not always easy, especially when the customers were rude, but it was nice knowing I could make people happy with the service I gave.
- Age: 31
- Ethnicity: Burmese
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- Chiang Mai University
- Bachelor’s, Social Science
Goals & Dreams
- Work for basic educational rights for migrants and children
- Travel around the world
- Loan Amount: $4,475
- Amount Left To Fund: $2,750
- Contract Duration: 12 years
- Status: In Repayment
What Others Are Saying About HayMann
I was searching for opportunities to study abroad on scholarship while trying to improve my English. Starting from early 2011, I applied to some postgraduate scholarships in psychology but I was rejected because I had no background knowledge in psychology. The reason I had applied was because I believe mental illness is as important as physical illness. This I came to realize when I became depressed following my sister’s death. Even today many do not realize how a healthy mind is indispensable for leading a sustainable life.
After trying and not receiving a scholarship, my scholarship advisor suggested that I apply for a Bachelor of Arts in social science in the international program at Chiang Mai University (CMU). I gave it a shot and went through oral and written exams. Several months later they chose me to become one of the first batches of students for their new Social Science International Program.
Being away from home and family for the first time in my life, I had many ups and downs in my first year. But it was a worthwhile experience since I had the chance to meet many incredible people and to learn about Thailand’s beautiful culture.
When our first year finished, two classmates and I interned for a PhD student. He took us to refugee camps across northern Thailand, and we stayed in Mae Sariang for 10 days to study the border people. Interviewing people was not our strong suit. Despite the fact that we were freshmen, we put in our best efforts to assist him.
Second year of school was more enjoyable and fruitful. We collaborated with students from National University of Singapore (NUS). In groups of CMU and NUS students, we went to different ethnic villages in northern Thailand. Our group’s mission was to do Participatory Action Research (PAR) with Lahu people from the Chiang Rai area, and for our final project we developed teaching aids for a traditional Lahu calendar.
Apart from that, I volunteered at Street Children Project from World Vision Mandalay. By that time, I realized I wanted to focus on children’s education. Those children’s livelihoods and welfare were being neglected by the Myanmar government and society. Compared with their peers, they needed to enjoy their rights, and to do that they required physical and moral support. Even though my time with them was short, I am grateful that there are organizations like World Vision helping those children build a better life.
During the summer of 2014, I was doing my internship with MAP Foundation, Mae Sot Branch. I worked mainly for one of their projects called Migrant Youth Empowerment Project (MYEP) as an assistant, and I also helped time to time for Women Exchange (WE) Project. Being an intern at Mae Sot at MAP office was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made because I have learned a lot about the hardship of migrants. This invaluable experience makes me feel assured that I will keep fighting for those children and women who are deprived and lack of access to basic healthcare and education.
Written by HayMann with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“When we talk about education, mostly people think about proper education like going to school. But I believe education is more than that. Children should be given a chance to learn what they are interested in and later take up a profession of their own preference. ”