Student Portrait

My name is Thin. I am Karen and grew up in Karen State, which is situated in southeast Myanmar. After high school, my parents could not support me to continue my university education and encouraged me to work in Thailand instead.

Despite this, I entered university in Myanmar since I wanted to become an educated person and a role model in my community. While attending university, I worked as an eleventh grade guide teacher to support my education. In 2011, I graduated from Hpa-an University with a specialization in physics.

Since the education system in our country is not very practical, holding a bachelor’s degree in physics does not lead to a promising career. So I applied for Education Gathering Group (EGG) at Tounge La’ Yat Academy, a community school in Karen State. Luckily, I was admitted to EGG’s Community Leadership Program in 2012.

The program is full-time, so I could only work part- time. Since I could not support myself with a part-time job, I applied for a scholarship to attend the academy. Fortunately, I was granted a partial scholarship to study there. I did my best to acquire valuable knowledge and skills at the academy. As a result, I became empowered to follow my dream.

The learning experience I gained at the academy was unlike what I got from the government university. Most remarkably, I was selected for a short exchange program between EGG Academy and its partner academies in Loikaw, Kayah State, and Myitkyina, Kachin State. Again, this opportunity opened my eyes to bigger dreams.

In 2014, after I finished the program at EGG Academy, I began to work at the Veranda Youth Community Café (YCC), a social enterprise program run by EGG. I was one of the original staff members when YCC first came into existence. I value the purpose of this social enterprise and wanted to be a part of it to give back to my community.

 About Thin

  • Age: 32
  • Ethnicity: Burmese, Karen
  • Country: Myanmar

 School & Program

  • Assumption University
  • Master’s, Business Administration
  • Graduated

Goals & Dreams

  • Build social enterprises in Myanmar
  • Create job opportunities for people in Karen State and throughout Myanmar

 Loan Details

  • Loan Amount: $1,850
  • Amount Left To Fund: $0
  • Contract Duration: 10 years
  • Status: Repaid in Full


What Others Are Saying About Thin

During my time at YCC, I discovered my interest in business. I would like to build social enterprises in many communities in the future. I want to combine my educational background with the practical experience I have gained at the café to build social enterprises throughout my country. After working at YCC for one year, I completed a six-month Organizational Development Course certified by Payap University in Thailand in order to learn more about management-related subjects.

Currently, I am working toward a Master of Business Administration at Assumption University in Bangkok. After I finish the MBA program, I plan to return to my community and YCC to innovate new business products. I will work with external business partners to explore markets for Karen traditional foods and local products such as coffee beans and bamboo souvenirs.

Additionally, I will present my business plans to YCC and open Veranda Youth Community Traditional Restaurant, Veranda Youth Community Souvenir Shop, Veranda Youth Community Eco-Travel and Tour Service Center, Veranda Youth Community Resort, and Veranda Youth Community Business Consultation Center.

With this ambitious dream, I would like to create job opportunities for the local community. Therefore, with great enthusiasm and anticipation, I will strive to finish my program successfully.

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



“I want to combine my educational background with the practical experience I have gained at the café to build social enterprises throughout my country.”

Q&A With Thin

Survey Fun

What is your favorite memory?
Going to the beach
How would your friends describe you?
What is the one thing that isn’t taught in school but should be?
Life skills and sex education
What is/was your favorite subject in school?
What skill or ability do you most wish you had (but lack today)?
Artistic ability
If you could do anything you wanted now, what would it be?
Leading a simple life, having a successful business
Where would you most like to travel?
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Karen traditional food
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Building social enterprises throughout Myanmar