My name is Jasmin. I was born in a small village in the Ayeyarwady Delta in Myanmar. I belong to the Karen ethnic group. I have one elder sister and three younger sisters. We are devoted Christians.
My parents live in a rural village and depend on subsistence agriculture for their livelihood. They never had a chance to complete high school, yet being aware of the importance of education, they have always encouraged us to become educated. Throughout my life, they have encouraged me to strive for academic excellence. They want me to become an educated person so I can contribute to the betterment of our Karen community and other people in Myanmar.
In 2005, my sisters and I moved to Yangon, where I was privileged to continue my education. Despite being ordinary farmers with very limited income, my parents provided everything for us, paying school fees, tuition, living expenses, etc.
After graduating, I worked as an advocacy officer for the Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG), which reports on human rights abuses committed in the civil war in Southeast Myanmar. I helped villagers from conflict-affected areas by writing analytical reports describing their situations and advocating on their behalf. Through this work, I gained a thorough understanding of human rights advocacy, building strong relationships among different civil society organizations, and writing recommendations to improve the situation on the ground.
I contributed to the “Development or Destruction?” report, which discusses the negative social and environmental impacts of hydropower dams on indigenous communities in Myanmar. In addition to conducting field interviews and cooperating with another NGO with the drafting of this report, I helped affected villagers come forward and handled our social media presence by live-streaming our report launch.
The experiences of interviewing people from my community who are victims of human rights abuses taught me a lot about what is really going on in Southeast Myanmar.
- Age: 30
- Ethnicity: Karen
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- Chiang Mai University
- Master’s, Public Policy
Goals & Dreams
- Become a human rights policy maker
- Promote peace in Myanmar
- Loan Amount: $3,900
- Amount Left To Fund: $2,675
- Contract Duration: 11 years
- Status: In Deferment
What Others Are Saying About Jasmin
I learned first-hand the impacts of human rights violations, including forced labor and porterage, sexual violence, forced relocation, torture and killing of civilians, arbitrary detention, and land confiscations. By working on these issues, I learned a tremendous amount about human rights.
Currently, I am working to earn a Master of Public Policy at Chiang Mai University. I believe this program will give me the knowledge, skills, and experiences I need to continue making a difference in my community. My dream is to become an effective policymaker who can improve the human rights situation in Myanmar by working together with governmental and non-governmental organizations, civil society, and international organizations.
Moreover, I would like to promote peace in our country. Armed conflict continues in the ethnic areas of Myanmar. If there were no more fighting and human rights violations, children would have a chance to go back to school and continue their education. This would lead to the emergence of a peaceful and prosperous nation.
Written by Jasmin with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“My dream is to become an effective policymaker who can improve the human rights situation in Myanmar.”