My name is Maew. I was born in Taunggyi but I grew up in Meung Pan (Shan State). I have been in Thailand since I was five years old. There are totally three members in my family consisting of my eldest sister, my elder brother, and I, the youngest. We do not have our beloved parents nowadays.
My eldest sister works in Chiang Rai and she works quite hard because she has her own child and has to take care of her family as well. I live with my sister and help her work during my free time to earn some money to use at the university. I want to earn as much money as I can to save and use while I am studying.
When I was young, I had to live at the orphanage called House of Hope in order to study because my father died when I was young and my mother did not have enough money to send me to school.
My mother worked very hard when she was alive because we had to apply for a Thai identity card and it required a lot of money. Then I wanted to go to school and my mother wanted to let me study more. My mother decided to send me to House of Hope and so I left my mother when I was five years old. I missed my mother and cried almost every day when I first arrived at the orphanage, but no one knew that. I loved my mother and wanted to stay with her, but I wanted to study higher too, so I had to be patient and keep on going on.
While at House of Hope, my friends and I had the opportunity to go to school in a village in Mae Hong Son. The school made me see that this world is not fair. When my friends and I went to the school I saw some children go to school with their parents—some of them walked, some of them rode a bike, and some of the parents drove their children to school. But there was a big group lined up to walk to school together every day. They had no parents to walk or send them to school. They were the children from House of Hope.
- Age: 24
- Ethnicity: Shan
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- Maejo University
- Bachelor’s, English
- 4th Year in Program
Goals & Dreams
- Gradate and find a good job so that she can support her family
- Become a teacher
- Loan Amount: $8,500
- Amount Left To Fund: $5,200
- Contract Duration: 14 years
- Status: Prefunded by Zomia
Maew, in her own words
Sometimes I felt hurt, but I think what I got from House of Hope was good enough. House of Hope gave a great opportunity for many children. We could go to school, had clothes to wear and good food to eat, and most importantly, the staffers loved us like their own children. Then I started to be happy. Because of limited funding, House of Hope could not support every poor child. Some poor children do not have opportunities like me. I wanted everyone to have equal rights. Everyone should have the same rights but I know it is impossible. I learned intently to finish grade 9.
After that, because my mother was getting old, I decided to leave House of Hope and stay with my mother, and my sister sent me to a school in a village near Chiang Mai. My elder sister supported me for the school fees and other expenses until I finished high school.
Studying for a higher degree is my ambition and will enable me to find a better job in the future and take care of my family. I really want to be a teacher. I love teaching. When I was in the village, I helped teach young children in the village in the evening. I was happy to help them. It made me proud of myself that I could spend my free time doing good things and I was happy to see their happiness. However, to be a good teacher and teach others well, I need to gain more knowledge and study for a higher degree so that I will be able to share the opportunity to others as I used to receive.
Written by Maew with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“I really want to be a teacher. I love teaching. When I was in the village, I helped teach young children in the evening. I was happy to help them. It made me proud to spend my free time doing good things and I was happy to see their happiness.”