My name is Jom. I am a Shan ethnic who was born in 1987 in Mong Pan Township, Southern Shan State, Myanmar. My hometown is only thirty-one miles far from the TaSang hydropower development project, which is now planning to construct on Than Lwin (Salween River).
I entered primary school in 1993 at No.1 Basic Education High School at Mong Pan for seven years. Then I continued my seventh grade studies in Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State. In that year, my dad passed away and my family faced economic hardship, so I stopped my studies at Taunggyi after only one year. After that my mom had to work for our family and so she migrated to Thailand for our family’s survival.
I returned to Mong Pan, my native town, and joined the monastic order as a novice monk. There I continued my formal education in eighth grade. This was the first time in my town’s history that a novice monk was eligible to attend the government school. I overcame many challenges in my childhood and passed the matriculation exam in March 2003.
Since my childhood, I have been involved in community development activities. My participation started at 15 years old when I became a member of the Shan Cultural and Literature Association and took part in village activities. Remarkably, I received the Social Volunteer Award from the Shan Cultural Committee in 2004 due to my strong commitment and active participation in social activities.
In 2004, when I was in Thailand, I sought a place to work with a social organization to continue my social activism. In 2007, fortunately, I had a chance to enter EarthRights International School Mekong’s training program as an intern for three months. These opportunities allowed me to build a strong network in the Mekong region. Moreover, I gained a lot of experiences, intensive English communication skills, and knowledge about the career of my study.
For nine months in 2008 I joined the eighth Social Justice Education Program at the School for Shan State Nationalities Youth (SSSNY). Due to my hard work, obeying the rules of the school, and leading many activities as a student representative, I graduated with an achievement of “Exemplary Course Completion” with outstanding personal development.
- Age: 35
- Ethnicity: Shan
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- Mae Fah Luang University
- Bachelor’s, Public Health
Goals & Dreams
- Become Myanmar’s Ministry of Health Minister
- Work towards healthcare for everyone
- Loan Amount: $2,000
- Amount Left To Fund: $0
- Contract Duration: 10 years
- Status: Repaid in Full
What Others Are Saying About Jom
After graduating from SSSNY in early 2009, for five months I worked as an assistant coordinator intern in the Cooperation for the Mekong Region’s Younger Generation under Thai Volunteer Service Foundation (TVS). There I got the chance to attend a Gross National Happiness Workshop at Chulalungkong University in Bangkok, organized by a Bhutan-based organization. I was pleased when at my first regional conference I was chosen to be the Myanmar representative. I also participated in the ASEAN People’s Forum and ASEAN Youth Movements, which were conducted in Thailand and Indonesia. There, I had many experiences and learned a lot. I learned organizational and communication skills, advocacy strategies, and grew an abundant network from the ASEAN member countries.
After my five-month internship finished with Thai Volunteer Service (TVS), I started working with Shan Health Committee as a Coordinator in its Malaria Control Program (MCP). The Shan Health Committee is an NGO based in Thailand focusing on the Internally Displacement Person (IDP) population around the Thai-Myanmar border (Shan State).
When I became a student at Mae Fah Luang University, I saw myself as a student activist as well as the leader to take initiative among our group. I led and organized many activities inside and outside of my studies and helped my classmates in several ways, always making myself available to help those in need.
Furthermore, I organized the students to become aware of the social problems surrounding us. As a result, I was selected as a Mae Fah Luang University (MFU) ASEAN Youth Ambassador in 2012 and was invited to represent the university on visits to partner universities within ASEAN (Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore).
From 2010 to 2014 during summer break, I conducted more than ten trainings on the topic of school health, elderly health, and family health planning in Shan State. I graduated recently with a bachelor’s degree of Public Health from Mae Fah Luang University. As one of the outstanding students in the class, my professors, supervisors, and co-workers constantly encouraged me to continue the master degree in Biomedical and Health Informatics at Mahidol University in Bangkok.
Written by Jom with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“When I became a student at Mae Fah Luang University, I saw myself as a student activist as well as the leader to take initiative among our group. I led and organized many activities inside and outside of my studies and helped my classmates in several ways, always making myself available to help those in need.”