I am Moe Min. I was born in Karen State, Burma and am the youngest son in my family. My father died when I was a child. A house without a father made it extremely hard for my mother to support her children to attend school, as she needed to struggle for the family’s survival. When I was twelve years old, I went to school in Noh Poe Refugee Camp with my sister. I couldn’t continue studying in my village after grade five because of my family’s economic crisis. I studied in Noh Poe for two years. After I finished grade seven, I moved on to Umphiem Refugee Camp.
In 2010, I finished grade ten in Umphium and continued my studies at Hsa Thoo Lei Learning Center with the support of my sister. In 2012, I graduated from the twelfth grade, getting second place in the exams and winning the “Outstanding Student” prize.
However, our school certificate was not recognized by either the Thai or Burmese governments. Luckily, I learned about a GED program run by Minmahaw Higher Education Program that helps migrant students enter the university. So I studied to improve my English skills and taught art in my school as a volunteer teacher. On Saturday and Sunday, I attended a program run by Payap University about community development, conflict resolution, politics and economics.
In 2014, I became eligible to attend Minmahaw School. While there, I grew very interested in politics because of my Burma issues class, which was taught by teacher U Soe Thit. I was the student president. I organized the student meetings, worked with the student council, and wrote reports for our school coordinator. I also became the school treasurer, responsible for selling snacks and ensuring that all funds were collected. My experience as the student president and treasurer improved my leadership, communication, and management skills.
About Moe Min
- Age: 27
- Ethnicity: Karen
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- Chiang Mai University
- Bachelor’s, Social Science
- 4th Year in Program
Goals & Dreams
- Provide English and art classes in my village
- Rebuild the school in my community
- Become a social science professor and politician
- Loan Amount: $4,425
- Amount Left To Fund: $3,600
- Contract Duration: 12 years
- Status: In School
What Others Are Saying About Moe Min
In 2015, I graduated from Minmahaw. I came back to my village school and taught history, social studies, art, and life skills. As I taught many subjects, I needed to manage my time wisely and prepare lesson plans. I organized the students for school cleaning and classroom management. When I taught, I focused not only on the lesson in the textbook, but also made up games, debates, presentations, and storytelling for my students. I think it was important for them since the education system of Burma is mostly focused on memorizing the lessons. For grade eleven and twelve students, I asked a lot of challenging questions when I taught them. I learned myself about my strengths and weaknesses as a teacher.
My dream is to become a social studies teacher and rebuild the schools in my community. When I visited my village, I noticed that many school buildings were not good. The students need to learn in tiny classrooms. I don’t want to see this in my village or anywhere in Burma anymore. I want to see the next generation grow up with education at a good school. I hope to find the money from donors to rebuild the school in my community. Furthermore, young people in my village stop their studies too early and leave for Thailand to earn income. Their view of their life and community is very narrow. That’s why I want to teach them social studies, which will give them critical thinking skills.
Finally, many students want to learn English speaking and art in my village, but there are no teachers to teach them. Some of them need to attend English classes in nearby cities and towns. It costs a lot of their money. When I finish university, I will open an English speaking class and an art class in my village. The students can learn during the summer. It will be good for the students in my village and my village neighbors. Therefore, I need and appreciate the support for my further education.
Written by Moe Min with editing assistance from June, one of Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“My family, students, and the people from my village are the motivation for me to study hard because I want to help them have a better life. I want to help them escape poverty and gain the knowledge that I have through education.”
Q&A With Moe Min
What is your favorite memory?
How would your friends describe you?
What is the one thing that isn’t taught in school but should be?
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
What skill or ability do you most wish you had (but lack today)?
What’s your dream job?
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
A talented artist, Moe Min hopes to one day teach art classes to young people in his village. This image is a crop from one of his paintings.