Student Portrait

I am Nang Shining, from Southern Shan State, Myanmar. Life has been challenging for me, as I was raised in a conflict zone and am a member of an ethnic minority with limited resources and opportunities. To escape the vicious cycle of political turmoil and economic crisis, I have worked hard to educate and prepare myself to address the difficulties I and my people have faced for so long.

After graduating from Taunggyi University, I left for Thailand for the sake of learning and earning. I quickly realized the importance of networking, which has served as a ladder enabling me to explore my potential by introducing me to good people and supportive environments to work in. I was able to work in a multicultural society where I could learn and earn and, more importantly, use my knowledge and skills to improve society, which is my priority in life.

For more than four years, I worked for nonprofit organizations addressing issues involving the environment and human rights. I served as a researcher for Images Asia and later worked at EarthRights International School Mekong in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where I served as the Alumni Program Coordinator for two-and-a-half years and School Training Coordinator for one year.

My skills include recruiting, supervising, researching and documenting trans-boundary issues, campaigning across borders, planning events and activities, organizing international meetings, facilitating workshops, budgeting, and monitoring and reporting activities. I am very active in organizing and conducting trainings in the areas of peace-building, human rights, and environmental protection in the Mekong basin countries. I speak Shan natively; am fluent in Burmese, Thai and English; and have a basic understanding of Lao. I have experience traveling not only in the Mekong region but also in other ASEAN countries and parts of the United States, Latin America, and Europe.

 About Shining

  • Ethnicity: Shan
  • Country: Myanmar

 School & Program

  • Ateneo De Manila University
  • Master’s, Political Science
  • Graduated

Goals & Dreams

  • Establish a non-profit school for marginalized students
  • Contribute to lasting peace in my country

 Loan Details

  • Loan Amount: $3,000
  • Amount Left To Fund: $0
  • Contract Duration: 11 years
  • Status: Repaid in Full


Shining, in her own words

In 2008, I earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the University of Taunggyi, Myanmar. I later received a Master of Arts in International Development Studies at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. As part of my master’s thesis, I conducted first-hand interviews with community members to document the environmental and social impacts of the dam project on the Salween River in Southern Shan State, Myanmar. I earned a second master’s degree at the University for Peace, Costa Rica, and finished my education with Zomia’s assistance at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.

In 2013, I established the Mong Pan Youth Association to empower Shan youth and their communities. The Association is intended to catalyze a more active role among youth in building peace and sustainable development. To play a more active role in the regional and international community, in 2014 I co-founded Weaving Bonds Across Borders with two friends from the U.S. and Colombia. We hope to empower communities around the world impacted by conflict, violence, environmental disasters and climate change.

In addition to working with the Mong Pan Youth Association and Weaving Bonds Across Borders, I was married in 2016 and recently became a mother. My life is busy, but I remain devoted to making positive change for society and the environment and will always stand side-by-side with marginalized communities and vulnerable people.

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

Q&A With Shining

Survey Fun

What is your favorite memory?
Family gatherings
How would your friends describe you?
Smiling Shining 😀 😀 😀
What is the one thing that isn’t taught in school but should be?
What is/was your favorite subject in school?
Project management
What skill or ability do you most wish you had (but lack today)?
Public speaking
If you could do anything you wanted now, what would it be?
Sit next to someone who loves and cares for me
Where would you most like to travel?
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Shan noodles (hot, spicy, sour, sweet, creamy)
What’s your dream job?
Founder of nonprofit school for marginalized students