My name is Steven. I was born in 1994 in a small village near Pantanaw City, Irrawaddy Division. There I was brought up by a very affectionate and content family. I considered my family perfect because we all loved, respected and supported each other. My life was flawless until my mother fell sick with a serious disease and needed to be admitted to the hospital. Then huge problems began to afflict me and my family.
Since my mother had been the main contributor to the family budget, we struggled to cover our daily expenditures. Moreover, we needed a large amount of money for her treatment. My father had to borrow money from his friend with a high interest rate. My mom’s treatment took two months. As a result, I started to see conflicts and arguments between my parents.
When I was 11, my father went to work in Hpa-An, and when I was 14 my mother and sister followed him. Finally, my parents moved to Bangkok in order to earn more money to address numerous financial issues. My parents are still working in Bangkok, so we do not see each other very often.
Thus far, I have studied in many different places. 2010 was a turning point in my life. I was 16 at the time, and I had just passed the matriculation exam to graduate from high school and was looking forward to attending university. Unfortunately, I could not study in a university because my parents couldn’t afford the tuition fees. In May 2011, instead of wasting my time in Hpa-An, I followed one of my father’s friends to Mae Sot, Thailand, to continue my education at Love & Care School. After I finished studying at Love & Care, I passed the Minmahaw entrance exam and got a chance to sit the GED exam in Bangkok.
- Age: 24
- Ethnicity: Karen
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- Chiang Mai University
- Bachelor’s, Social Science
- 3rd Year in Program
Goals & Dreams
- Serving his community as a social worker
- Working in an NGO
- Loan Amount: $3,350
- Amount Left To Fund: $2,600
- Contract Duration: 11 years
- Status: Prefunded by Zomia
What Others Are Saying About Steven
After I passed the GED exam, I decided to return to Love & Care as a volunteer teacher in order to help the Love & Care community in the same way that it helped me. I earned a very low stipend there which was enough for my daily expenditures.
In April 2014, I came back to Burma and decided to work in Karen State. Luckily I got a chance to work in the Karen Department of Health and Welfare (KDHW) as an assistant coordinator for its malaria project. KDHW implemented my project in five townships in Karen state mostly in remote areas. I was responsible for assisting the coordinator with planning, supervising and implementing the project’s activities and submitting written reports. Moreover, I conducted monitoring and evaluation and field visits, and therefore had to report the field’s general situation to the deputy project coordinator for KDHW.
In order to get different work experience, I started to work for a new German organization called BMZ, which Malteser International implemented in December 2015. The project mainly supported resident population in area of origin of Karen refugees of Kayin State. It sought to improve their social infrastructure and basic social services to facilitate their return from Thailand. I worked as a counterpart field coordinator to coordinate work (communication, permissions and mobilization of counterpart resources) between Malteser International, KDHW, and KNU for cost effective, speedy, and high-quality implementation of the project.
My different experiences have helped me mature, taught me to be patient and adaptable, and improved my leadership, communication, and mentoring skills. I want to take this passion further by learning about social science in order to more effectively help my community in the future.
Written by Steven with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“I am applying to Zomia because it is the only way I can attend university.”