My name is Khat Khat, and I was born in a small village called Paing Kyone Lay in Kayin State. I am the youngest of three siblings. My father passed away when I was three years old. While we were young, my elder sister and brother lived with my grandmother due to our family’s financial difficulties, and I lived with my mother in the village until I was 16 years old.
Coming from a poor background, it was very difficult for me to access a good education system in the village. When I was in 6th grade, I had to walk about an hour to school. Although I tried doing that until 9th grade, my mother felt that it would be difficult for me to pass the matriculation examination in that situation. Therefore, my mother sent me to a town called Hlaing Bwe in Kayin State for better education, even though my family’s income was not in a good state.
From the time I was a child, I have always wanted to become an educated person who can serve my community. My mother wants the same, as we empathize with people from rural areas who have fewer opportunities to access quality education.
Despite having a chance to study in Hlaing Bwe, it did not even last for three months. Unfortunately, my mother had a stroke when I was away from her, and as a result, I quit school to take care of her. In 2008, we moved to a place on the Thai-Burma border where my grandmother lived, Mae La Refugee Camp.
On our way to the camp, we had an unexpected experience. Since my mother could not walk for long, we decided to go to the camp by crossing the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge. We were villagers who had no experience traveling abroad, so we did not know what documents were required. Therefore, we were arrested at Mae Pa Gate and sent back to Myanmar.
About Khat Khat
- Age: 27
- Ethnicity: Burmese
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- Asia-Pacific International University
- Bachelor’s, Primary Education
- 1st Year in Program
Goals & Dreams
- Lead a community school
- Loan Amount: $2,300
- Amount Left To Fund: $2,225
- Contract Duration: 11 years
- Status: Prefunded by Zomia
What Others Are Saying About Khat Khat
Despite having unpleasant experience in the beginning, we refused to give up and tried again to reach the camp with the help of a woman from Mae La. Luckily, once I arrived at the camp, I found a way to continue my education. Furthermore, I found myself enjoying the education system in the camp, which allowed me to be a successful student chosen by Minmahaw Higher Education Program (MHEP) to be trained for the General Educational Development (GED) exam in 2014.
After I passed the GED exam, I applied for scholarships for my further study in 2015 but was not chosen. At that time, I realized that I still needed more skills to be a successful scholarship candidate. For this reason, I went back to the camp and volunteered for one year as a part-time teacher at Pu Taw Memorial Junior College.
After that, No. (4) High School offered me a part-time teaching position to teach Science and Mathematics, and I willingly accepted, as I was aware of their lack of teachers. Moreover, in order to improve myself, I did an online self-study program called EPOP and again applied for scholarships. Sadly, I was once again not chosen. Despite repeated failures to achieve my dream, I didn’t give up and returned to Myanmar in order to serve my community.
Back in my community, I heard about a summer English program at Khwelkabaung Education Network (KEN). The program is organized by a monk who is committed to providing educational opportunities to young people from rural areas. As a village girl myself, I empathize with them and took part in the program. I taught students how to prepare PowerPoint presentations in English. In addition, I also worked as a Social Science teacher at Education Gathering Group (EGG) in Kayin State.
At the beginning of this year, after gaining invaluable teaching experiences at EGG and KEN, I applied for scholarships again. However, none of my applications were successful. Nevertheless, with limited financial support from a personal donor, I decided to take a chance and applied to the Primary Education Program at Asia-Pacific International University and joined the program this year.
I hope I will be able to secure enough financial resources to complete the program successfully. After earning my degree, I will be able to implement my dream of helping others with the skills and knowledge I acquire. As a passionate teacher who is committed to nurturing students, I would like to lead a community school and educate the younger generations in my country one day.
Written by Khat Khat with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“As a passionate teacher who is committed to nurturing students, I would like to lead a community school and educate the younger generations in my community one day. ”