Student Portrait

I have four siblings and my parents work as farm laborers. Their incomes were not enough for the whole family, so my older brother left Myanmar when he finished his matriculation exam. I finished high school in 2012, but I did not have a chance to attend higher education because my aunt and my parents could no longer support us. Moreover, they still needed to support my younger siblings until they finished high school. I felt pressured by my family’s economic problems and decided to follow my brother, who settled in Mae Sot. I did not want to spend my life on the farm and hoped to continue studying.

On May 22nd, 2012, I arrived at New Blood School, which is one of the migrant schools in Mae Sot. At first I had a tough life, but living as a dormitory student with friends and children in New Blood School gave me encouragement.

Even though I passed Grade 11 in Myanmar, I had to take English classes with younger students. I was really embarrassed, but I realized that speaking English was a big challenge for me and age does not matter when you are learning. So I joined them at Pre Post-Ten in order to improve my English. Moreover, while living in the school, I learned a lot of life skills such as cooking, working in the garden, growing vegetables, and studying together like a big family.

Later on, in 2013, I attended post-ten in Minmahaw School. I met a lot of friends from different regions in Myanmar. I lived with them and studied with foreign teachers without any trouble. That year I applied to Minmahaw Higher Education Program (MHEP), but I did not get accepted. I understood that we will not always succeed in life and sometimes experience failures, but we have to learn our weak points and try again. I did not give up and went back to my home school, New Blood, in 2014 where I taught math, science, and Burmese as a volunteer teacher for one year.

 About Nilar

  • Age: 27
  • Ethnicity: Burmese, Karen
  • Country: Myanmar

 School & Program

  • Chiang Mai University
  • Bachelor’s, Social Science
  • Graduated

Goals & Dreams

  • Become a good educator
  • Work at an NGO fighting for youth education

 Loan Details

  • Loan Amount: $4,925
  • Amount Left To Fund: $0
  • Contract Duration: 12 years
  • Status: In Repayment


What Others Are Saying About Nilar

The following year, I took the MHEP entrance exam again and succeeded. I taught mathematics and problem solving at Minmahaw School for another year before I started college. It was not based on Burmese curriculum, and making lesson plans was difficult for me. I overcame my challenges by asking for feedback from my students, taught together with one of my former teachers in one class, and got advice from other teachers.

I faced many difficult situations in order to get a good education, such as attending an international university. From my experience, my entry to a university was delayed because of poverty and a lack of quality education. There are many young people like me in Myanmar who do not have access to good education because they are poor and do not have educated teachers. There are also many who drop out of school because of their families’ poverty. I want to encourage young people who face such hardships to not give up easily and try to educate themselves first.

I believe that if we are educated, we can get better jobs, have more opportunities, and look after our families better. Even though I was born in a poor family, I was still able to gain access to good education because I don’t give up easily, stayed strong, and struggled to achieve my goals. I have a dream of becoming a person who can fulfill the need for good education, at least in my hometown in Myanmar, by teaching and guiding young people. Therefore, I hope that after I graduate from Chiang Mai University, I will return home to teach and work at an NGO which is fighting to educate youths in Myanmar.

Written by Nilar with editing assistance from Esra, one of Zomia’s volunteer editors.



“My entry to a university was delayed because of poverty and a lack of quality education. There are many young people like me in Myanmar who do not have access to good education because they are poor and do not have educated teachers.”

Q&A With Nilar

Survey Fun

How would your friends describe you?
My friends would describe me as a traditional and stingy young woman
What is/was your favorite subject in school?
What skill or ability do you most wish you had (but lack today)?
I wish I could swim really well
If you could do anything you wanted now, what would it be?
I would like to fix my computer
Where would you most like to travel?
I would most like to travel to Paris and visit the Eiffel Tower
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Special fish paste, vegetables and chicken curry
What’s your dream job?
Teaching and working at NGOs for developing youth education
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
I see myself becoming a good mother in 20 years