My name is Thel Thel. I was born in Twantay Township, Yangon, Myanmar. I am Karen. There are eleven people in my family. My mother passed away when I was eighteen years old. Currently, my father lives in Twantay with my sister’s family.
I quit school after finishing ninth grade in Myanmar because my parents could no longer afford to support me. Fortunately, I heard about a migrant school in Thailand named Children’s Development Centre (CDC) from my cousin who was already living in Mae Sot. She recommended that I study at CDC.
To continue my education, I had to leave my family and my country. I decided to move to Thailand in 2009, where I attended classes at CDC from grades 10 to 12. When I arrived in Mae Sot, I faced difficulties in my studies. My English was very poor, so I could not follow the lessons well. I got very low grades on my English exams.
However, I had an opportunity to study and stay at the same dormitory with other people who also came to study for further education. So, I did not feel frustrated with my situation because there were other students in the same situation as me. We learned to help each other when we faced challenges in our studies.
During my time at CDC, I learned how to be friendly and get along with different people. This strengthened me to become a sociable person and make friends with many people from various backgrounds and diverse ethnicities.
While studying at CDC, I began to realize that education is the only way to improve people’s lives, especially migrant people like us. I started to think about my life and the lives of others as migrants. Why did we come to study here in Thailand? Why not in our country? After much contemplation, I was able to convince myself that I should do something great for my community through education to improve my life and the lives of others. Education is the only tool to utilize to bring about social change.
About Thel Thel
- Age: 26
- Ethnicity: Burmese, Karen
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- Chiang Mai University
- Bachelor’s, Social Science
- 3rd Year in Program
Goals & Dreams
- Become a social activist
- Loan Amount: $4,600
- Amount Left To Fund: $3,900
- Contract Duration: 12 years
- Status: In School
What Others Are Saying About Thel Thel
I also learned how education is important to building friendships and bringing people together, as we have different perspectives based upon our religious and linguistic differences. Thus, I began to dream that I would become a person who can educate people in my country.
After completing grade 12 at CDC in 2012, I went to Brighter Futures, which provides training to people hoping to become teachers and social activists. While there, I learned teaching methodologies and computer skills. Subsequently, I did my internship at Farm House School as an English teacher.
Following my internship, the principal of the CDC school gave me a chance to volunteer at their kindergarten as a Burmese teacher. After that, I was officially employed full-time teaching Burmese and English. I was delighted to be able to make a contribution to my community by sharing my knowledge with others.
In 2015, I attended the General Educational Development (GED) program at Bridging Educational Access to Migrants (BEAM) in Chiang Mai and finished in 2016. Currently, I am studying social science at Chiang Mai University (CMU).
During my time at CMU, I would like to equip myself with knowledge and skills that will enable me to serve my community more effectively. Most importantly, studying social science will undoubtedly enhance my thinking skills and understanding of other people who have different ideas and perspectives.
Written by Thel Thel with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“While I was studying at Children’s Development Center, I began to realize that education is the only way to improve people’s lives, especially migrant people like us.”
“I was delighted to be able to make a contribution to my community by sharing my knowledge with others.”