My name is Pan. I was born in October of 1995 during the rainy season. My mother said to me, “When you were born, it was raining heavily, so I was really in trouble and couldn’t call a nurse.” When I heard that I felt sorry and also thankful because she gave birth to me as a healthy baby and I could survive in the world.
My hometown is called Naing Tsing. It is a small village with only about 30 families. It is far from towns and the road was so bad the cars couldn’t reach there until a few years after I was born. And, it’s a Kachin Independence Army region, thus things were really complicated between the Kachin army and government military because both didn’t want to fix the roads. I don’t have any idea why they didn’t want to fix it.
I have four siblings and seven family members: my grandmom, daddy, mom, elder sister, younger sister, younger brother and me.
My grandmom is blind, so we take care of her. My father and mother are farmers. Growing up we had enough food to fill our stomachs by farming, but not for any other extra expenses.
I attended three different schools to finish my high school. First, I attended kindergarten in my hometown when I was five, but we had only three grades. So, I left my hometown to Myitkyina to continue my education. I stayed there with my uncle’s family. I’m until today thankful for my uncle’s family because I was able to continue my school by staying at their house. Second, I attended another primary school in Myitkyina to finish my primary level education. After I finished fifth grade, I attended high school until I graduated in 2012. At that time, I was the first person in my village who graduated high school. Most of my childhood friends quit school after they finished third grade because our village school only had three grades. My parents, relatives, and the villagers from my hometown were so proud of me. The villagers encouraged me, “You are like an educational gate for our village, so we wish you to keep learning more and helping for our village sake.” Their words were so powerful for me and it gave me strength.
- Age: 23
- Ethnicity: Kachin
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- Chiang Mai Rajabhat University
- Bachelor’s, English
Goals & Dreams
- Become an excellent teacher
- Construct a high school in her hometown
- Loan Amount: $7,850
- Amount Left To Fund: $4,300
- Contract Duration: 13 years
- Status: In Grace Period
Pan, in her own words
In early 2012, I heard good news: it was to study in Thailand at BEAM education foundation. I heard it from someone I knew who was working as a housemaid at a foreigner’s house in Thailand. She said the school is free and I can join an international university after I finish the GED. Then, she said, “You can both work and study.” So, I decided to come to Thailand to both work and learn because it was my dream to study at an international university, and I had dared to achieve my dream.
I knew my parents weren’t able to afford my university tuition fees and expenditures in Myanmar even though they didn’t say it to me. I passed the GED in 2013, but I couldn’t go to university in 2014 because I didn’t get a scholarship, so I worked at Agri Foods factory for four months, and worked as a housemaid for five months at a Chinese house. I saved some money from that job and was able to pay for my first semester tuition fees. Then, I got a loan from Zomia for second semester tuition fees. I was really glad because I found potential to finish university for four years. Before that, I felt hopeless and blurred for my future. That’s why Zomia has become my dream’s supporter.
I would like to build a high school in my village. I’ve had that dream since I saw my friends who were struggling for their daily meals by working in farms and digging gold for Chinese companies as daily pay workers after they finished third grade. If there was a high school in my village, my friends would also probably finish high school and could see a bright future. I felt sorry for them, so I would like to help them both in education and financially. But, I couldn’t do it because I didn’t have the capacity back then. I believe “having faith in knowledge will give the best guarantee for my dream”. Education can lead you to become a better person, and you won’t feel bored to survive in this world. And then you feel responsible for someone who lacks in education compared to you and it makes you feel excited.
In conclusion, I presented about my past life that I remember about my hometown, my school, my future outlook, and my personality. I have to look forward to my future— how it will be become: good or bad? To get a good result, I have to put in effort and do my best. There is a motto that says “no pain, no gain”. Thus, things that happened in the past remain in the past and can tell my story because I walked in pain and gained. So in the future the pain and the gain will come to me for sure. Therefore I need to store a million kilograms of energy in my mind.
Written by Pan with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“The higher we jump the higher we see, and we can also see the lower places. In the same way, as we get more knowledge, we see how other educated people are doing […] and kindness appears in us to help others who lack education and live in struggle.”
“I was the first person in my village who graduated from high school.”