Student Portrait

My name is Noe Noe, and I am 23 years old. I was born in Kayan Lay Village, Tontay Township, Myanmar. My father was a truck driver, and my mother was a vendor. I am their only child.

Since there was no school in my village, my family moved to Yangon when I was four years old. I attended No.7 Basic Education Primary School, North Dagon Township. After finishing primary school, my family moved to South Okkalapa Township.

Because of my father’s insufficient income, my parents quarreled often, which eventually led to their divorce when I was ten years old. After their divorce, my father took custody of me. I have since lost contact with my mother.

My father worked diligently to support my education. Unfortunately, he suffered a stroke and was no longer able to work. Sadly, I had to quit school and find a job to support myself and cover my father’s medical costs.

At that time, the political situation in Myanmar was not stable. There were widespread protests about the poor education system, high cost of living, increased taxes, and corruption across the country. Thus, I moved to Mae Sot on the Thai-Myanmar Border to find better educational and job opportunities.

Fortunately, after arriving in Mae Sot, I got a job at Social Action for Children and Women (SAW) and was allowed to live at their safe house. I was encouraged to join SAW’s migrant learning center because the organization provides shelter, education, and career opportunities to migrant women.

After finishing high school in 2013, I became a volunteer teacher at the same migrant learning center. I volunteered for SAW’s mobile medical team led by Dr. Htin Zaw during the weekends. Moreover, I spent my spare time helping children from the SAW safe house with their homework. Despite being in Thailand, I still wanted to graduate from Myanmar high school. So I studied the required subjects with the help of teachers from the migrant learning center.

 About Noe Noe

  • Age: 24
  • Ethnicity: Burmese
  • Country: Myanmar

 School & Program

  • Chiang Mai University
  • Bachelor’s, Social Science
  • 3rd Year in Program

Goals & Dreams

  • Become a social worker
  • Repay SAW for supporting my education

 Loan Details

  • Loan Amount: $4,275
  • Amount Left To Fund: $4,175
  • Contract Duration: 12 years
  • Status: In School
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Again, due to my father’s health, I moved back to Yangon to take care of him. While back In Yangon, I worked as a waitress in a coffee shop. My monthly salary was not enough to rent a house and pay for my father’s medical bills, so I also worked as a tutor at night. My father’s health deteriorated day by day, and after struggling with stroke and other medical conditions for so many years, he finally passed away in December, 2015. I still managed to take the matriculation exam in March, 2016.

Since I had no contact with my mother or other relatives in Yangon, I had no reason to stay. I decided to return to Mae Sot and continue working for SAW. I worked at the SAW office in the morning and the migrant learning center in the evening. I also enrolled in a TOEFL preparatory course.

Currently, I am studying social science at Chiang Mai University. I’m indebted to SAW for their continuous support to help me achieve my educational goals. Thus, I hope to work for SAW after I complete my education since I genuinely appreciate their commitment to improving the lives of migrant people.

Written by Noe Noe with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.

Noe Noe

Noe Noe

“I hope to work for SAW after I complete my education since I genuinely appreciate their commitment to improving the lives of migrant people.”

Q&A With Noe Noe

Survey Fun

What is your favorite memory?
Passing matriculation exam in Myanmar and university entrance exam in Thailand
How would your friends describe you?
Friendly and a good cook
What is the one thing that isn’t taught in school but should be?
Self-confidence
What is/was your favorite subject in school?
English, Physics and Economics
What skill or ability do you most wish you had (but lack today)?
Leadership skills
Where would you most like to travel?
Beautiful villages
What’s your dream job?
Social worker

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