My name is Laura. I was born in a small village in Ayeyarwady Division, Myanmar. I have three elder brothers and one younger sister. My father was a farmer and my mother is a teacher. I started school when I was five years old. I loved it as I followed my mum to school every day.
In 2007, my father passed away because of high blood pressure. My mum faced challenges raising us alone. In 2008, Cyclone Nargis destroyed our farm, so she decided to leave. She first sent my brothers to Mae La Refugee Camp in Thailand. Later, my sister and I followed.
Life was extremely difficult when I first arrived in the camp. We didn’t have any relatives, so there was no house for our family. My brothers were in a dormitory, while my sister and I lived with our mum. She tried to get help from others to find a shelter to live in, and finally she found a place for us. It was a dormitory for widows provided by the Karen Women’s Organization.
It was hard to watch my mum working strenuously as a daily worker. When I had free time, I followed her to wash clothes for other people so we could earn some pocket money. I wanted to be educated so I could help her one day. We could only stay in the widows’ dormitory for one year, so I decided to live with my brothers.
I was in grade 5 when I arrived at the camp. During my time there, I never had a chance to leave the camp or go back to Myanmar because we didn’t have any money or documents. I wanted to leave and study in Mae Sot, but I couldn’t find an opportunity to do so. There were no opportunities to access higher education or get a good job in the camp, so I didn’t want to spend my life there.
I wanted to experience the environment outside and study aboard. I couldn’t find any opportunity to get out, so I finished grade 10 in the camp. After finishing grade 10, miraculously, I got a chance to study in Thoo Mwee Khee School. I did a two-year program of Leadership and Community Development. After that, I moved to Mae Sot to prepare for the General Educational Development exam at Moe Ma Kha School.
- Age: 23
- Ethnicity: Karen
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- Asian University for Women
- Bachelor’s, Science/Arts
- 1st Year in Program
Goals & Dreams
- Work in refugee community
- Help refugee youth to get good education
- Enable refugees to work and travel freely
- Loan Amount: $725
- Amount Left To Fund: $625
- Contract Duration: 10 years
- Status: In School
What Others Are Saying About Laura
After I passed the GED, I volunteered as a teacher in Kawe Ka Boung School for two months and received a job offer from PlayOnside. While working for PlayOnside, I acquired valuable social and leadership skills. We have many projects in the organization. My job title was coach and educator, but I also worked as a finance assistant in the office. Moreover, I took responsibility as an assistant project manager in Thone Set Thone Su Summer School and as a project manager in Pa Deh Summer School.
Currently, I am studying at the Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh, where I’m majoring in Science and Arts. My future goal is to return to work in the refugee community. I hope to help refugee youth get good education and enable them to work and travel freely and without fear. I want refugee youth to have opportunities just like any other young people.
Written by Laura with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“I hope to help refugee youth get good education and enable them to work and travel freely and without fear. I want refugee youth to have opportunities just like any other young people.”