My name is Mercy. I was born and raised in Maw Light, a rural part of Myanmar, from the years 1998–2004. My father is a pastor, and while he was working toward a Master in Divinity, our family moved to the Philippines and lived there from 2005–2008. I have a younger brother called Love. I was seven when we first moved out of the city.
We stayed in the Philippines for 3 years, and during that time, I made friends from different countries such as Nepal, Romania, Vietnam, and China. With these friends, we were sent to a community home school. As a child, staying abroad opened my eyes to many things. I was introduced to various cultures, foods, and activities. Being raised among the unfamiliar made me a stranger to my countrymen, as I would often be sharing about how things should be done. This made me realize how far behind Myanmar was in development and sparked the passion in me to help my country. After 3 years in the Philippines, we moved back to Myanmar.
Back in Myanmar, I attended a private school operated by the Seven-Day Adventist Church. It was a struggle for me to be at the local school as I had almost forgotten my native language. However, I persevered and took to doing extra studies at home. Eventually my hard work paid off, and I became as fluent as my classmates.
In 2010, my father’s ministry allowed us to migrate to Penang, a beautiful island in Malaysia which has become my third home and a place I truly hold dear to my heart. My family lived in Malaysia for 5 years and migrated to Thailand afterward. However, I stayed back to complete my studies. I did my A-levels at Disted College and am currently studying Interior Architecture at KDU.
Attending school in Malaysia was financially difficult, as my dad was a religious worker. Besides not earning an abundant salary, he had to support two students. Although I got through secondary education due in part to scholarships I earned, the tertiary education fees have become a huge problem. Currently, I hold a part-time job that helps me pay my living expenses, but finding the money to pay my tuition fees has been a constant struggle. Some days, I wonder if I will be ever able to study without worrying about how I will pay for tuition.
- Age: 22
- Ethnicity: Burmese, Kachin, Shan
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- KDU University College
- Bachelor’s, Interior Architecture
- 2nd Year in Program
Goals & Dreams
- Improve quality of life of Myanmar citizens
- Establish a company that offers affordable home restoration services
- Become a film director
- Loan Amount: $4,800
- Amount Left To Fund: $1,475
- Contract Duration: 12 years
- Status: In School
What Others Are Saying About Mercy
My two years of living and studying alone in a foreign country have taught me many valuable lessons, time management being predominant among them because I’ve had to juggle work, classes, and social activities. Apart from this, I have learned much about self-discipline, self-control, and financial management.
I chose Interior Architecture as my major because I believe this major could benefit thousands of Myanmar citizens. This major not only deals with the aesthetic of the interior of a structure but more importantly teaches the skills necessary to produce the model of a building yet to be constructed. During my short visits home, I often notice how people live in cramped, unsanitary, and unfashionable spaces. But if people knew how to critically design their living space, such problems would be reduced. Our homes affect our moods and mirror our emotions. Thus, improving living features will definitely improve our quality of life.
Nevertheless, the working class is unable to afford such renovations due to their high cost. This is where my future company enters the picture. It will offer restoration services to the working class, non-governmental organizations, religious centers, or even help build old folks homes at affordable prices. With the technical knowledge gained from my major, I will be able to construct an orphanage school (a life-long dream) to help poor children forced into child labor because of financial issues. As both education and children determine the future of a country, I am willing to invest all that I have in this area.
I believe all people are born for a reason and go through different seasons in life for a purpose. Some were meant to change the world, some to change lives, and some to improve the quality of life.
Written by Mercy with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
Ms. Hexen Ong, Wesley Methodist School Penang
“Mercy is a highly reflective individual who has a passion to make a difference in her community. She is willing to go the extra mile to bring forth the results she desires even when she feels it is beyond her capacity.”
Ms. Kelly Tan, Scripture Union Regional Staff
“Mercy has a dream. She always keeps in mind what her grandmother in Burma has strongly imparted to her—that education is very important. She has a dream that one day she will be back in Burma . . . building or establishing schools for the better future of Burmese children.”