Miracles only happen if you believe in miracles. This is one of the most popular statements among my friends. And when I look back on my life, miracles happened many times.
In 2011, I arrived in Chiang Mai as an illegal migrant worker with my sister through connections of relatives who had already worked in Thailand. Arriving to a new country many miles away was quite a strange experience. We were always afraid of Thai police and had to hide from them, daring not to go outside regardless of our curiosity. As I was an illegal migrant and incapable of speaking Thai as well as my sister, I could not work for many months.
I learned Thai at a migrant school and fortunately had a connection with an uncle who worked with the Shan Health Committee (SHC),
an NGO which later gave me an opportunity to learn more English and computer skills. Fortunately during my time at SHC I did not have to work. I started an internship, helped around the office, and studied Thai every morning.
Arriving to a more developed country, I saw higher standards and educated people. This opened my mind and motivated me to continue my higher education by studying at Bridging Educational Access to Migrants (BEAM). A year of studying at BEAM exposed me to social issues, international political circumstances, and other social standards.
Thinking back to my hometown, I did not have awareness about these things. We didn’t even have the chance to study social and political issues in school because my family traveled every year, moving to many places. They ran a restaurant and we traveled to wherever the people and business were.
I participated in many trainings by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) while I was at BEAM.
- Age: 29
- Ethnicity: Shan
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- Stamford International University
- Master’s, Business Administration
- 2nd Year in Program
Goals & Dreams
- Become a social worker
- Return to Shan State
- Work with the elderly
- Loan Amount: $13,875
- Amount Left To Fund: $11,650
- Contract Duration: 16 years
- Status: In Repayment
Patrick, in his own words
Eventually my teacher recommended me to work for Free Burma Rangers (FBR) as a translator for six months during my school break.
Another step after a year at BEAM was studying at Minmahaw Higher Education Program. Minmahaw produces students who qualify to get their General Education Development (GED) and enter universities. I studied at Minmahaw for a year before graduating with a GED and entering the university. I applied to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Rangsit University. This degree would grant me the knowledge in different concepts for the development of society and political and economic strategies to be applied back in my community.
To make change in my community for a better country, I believe a better education system would be the final solution. It would raise political and social awareness, equality in society, and lead to community development. Therefore, I am currently pursuing a bachelor degree in PPE and learning the practical skills which are to apply to the future of my society. I still believe in miracles and believe this will also happen for my nation, Myanmar.
Written by Patrick with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“I love talking with elderly people and taking care of them. […] I have a dream that if I have a lot of money I will build housing for the elderly. This is part of my personality that people rarely know.”
Q&A With Patrick
What is the one thing that isn’t taught in school but should be?
Which website do you spend the most time on?
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
If you could do anything you wanted now, what would it be?
How would your friends describe you?
What was your favorite class last semester? Why was it great?
Patrick and Jasmine are among two sets of Zomia student siblings