I am Loon. I was born in the countryside of Burma. Before leaving for Thailand, I lived with my father, mother, little brother, and grandmother. My childhood was pretty normal and fun.
When I was nine years old, my father was in an accident and my life turned upside down. He almost lost his leg, and my mother struggled to make ends meet. Moreover, my father’s medical expenses were beyond our reach. For that reason, my parents could not support my education very well. Still, I managed to be on the average level every school year.
Initially, there was no problem with having a disabled father, but I began to witness discrimination against him. Because of him, I learned to see the world from a different perspective. People with disabilities deserve to be treated equally. In Myanmar, disabled people are seen as a liability and frowned upon by much of society.
My mother is Indian-Burmese, an unrecognized ethnic group in Myanmar. Although I was fond of growing up with two distinct cultures and proud to be a mixed girl, it is not always easy to be from an unrecognized ethnic group in Myanmar. Discrimination is very common.
I do not want to suffer discrimination as a result of my ethnicity or my father’s disability, and I don’t want others to experience discrimination. As a result, I have decided to become a human rights activist and serve the world by making it a better place to live, preventing all kinds of discrimination. In order to have an impact, I need to understand global affairs. This is why I became interested in studying international relations.
Unfortunately, studying international relations is not possible near my home. To study IR, I needed to go somewhere else, something almost impossible for me and my family. I decided to enter an English program at Pathein University instead. While studying, I was also busy helping my mother with her restaurant and teaching as a freelancer.
- Age: 19
- Ethnicity: Burmese, Indian
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- Rangsit University
- Bachelor’s, International Relations & Development
- 2nd Year in Program
Goals & Dreams
- Become a human rights activist
- Visit New York and meet Taylor Swift
- Loan Amount: $4,450
- Amount Left To Fund: $4,300
- Contract Duration: 12 years
- Status: In School
What Others Are Saying About Loon
Instead of making a huge amount of money as a freelance teacher, I gained invaluable experience. I met so many children who cannot afford to take classes. Many people out there cannot access equal education, which is a fundamental human right. Moreover, in the countryside, modern education is largely inaccessible.
I was encouraged to start an English Club named Mya War Yone (MWYEC) during the Covid-19 pandemic. Initially, I faced many difficulties making MWYEC a great place to learn English. Most of my salary from teaching was spent on the club since it is a non-profit. However, my persistence paid off, as the club was a success. The main purpose of MWYEC is to help participants access equal education no matter who they are or where they are from.
I successfully ran basic English classes for adults and children. We conducted workshops, seminars, weekly reading and speaking sessions, and knowledge-sharing sessions. Thousands of people have been educated by MWYEC. I also attended a Human Rights Fundamentals and Democracy class run by Mahidol University, a diploma class, and an Introduction to Minority Rights class by YSPS.
After a few years of trying, I have finally been given an opportunity by Daughters Rising to study International Relations at Rangsit University. Unfortunately, they can only provide me with school fees, and I must find a way to pay for my living expenses. As mentioned before, my family is unable to support my studies in Thailand.
I hope to become a human rights activist to promote and protect human rights. In our country, discrimination is everywhere. Freedom of expression is limited. Gender-based violence is a common crime, and women are not safe. Discrimination against members of the LGBT community is common, and our laws do little to help. Disabled people like my father lack true equality and often face ridicule and humiliation. Children are not safe.
Moreover, members of minority ethnic groups do not enjoy the same rights as the majority. For change to come to Myanmar, young people will play an important role. All of us must work to change Myanmar so it becomes a great place to live—with no more wars, no more discrimination, and no more victims. Change is at my door, and I believe my dreams will come true. A student loan from Zomia will serve not just me personally but all of us in Myanmar.
Written by Loon with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“I do not want to suffer discrimination as a result of my ethnicity or my father’s disability… I have decided to become a human rights activist and serve the world by making it a better place to live, preventing all kinds of discrimination.”