My friends call me Vicky. I am a Myanmar student of Karen origin. I am the only child in my family, and lived with my mum and grandma in Yangon after my father died when I was a year old. We had a hard time because Mum was the only breadwinner for our family. She worked with the Myanmar Council of Churches Women’s Department for over a decade, and so my grandma looked after me.
I studied in Yangon up to fifth grade before migrating to Thailand with my mum after Cyclone Nargis killed eighteen members of my family in May 2008. The death of my family members was not the only reason I moved to Thailand. Mum found that the oppressive nature of Burmese schools, that value memorization instead of critical thinking, was not enough for my further education. Mum could not find a job in Thailand though, so she went back to work in Yangon while I stayed with her friends and teachers.
From 2009 to 2011, I had a chance to study grades six through eight in a bilingual program with partial support from a Korean pastor. It was there that I learned Thai. At that time, there was no one to take care of my grandma, so she had to move to Mae Sot to live with her relatives. While Mum was struggling for my living costs I was also struggling to fit in with other people at the school. The most difficult thing I faced was language. As a young girl living in a foreign land without a family, and without people who understood my situation, I often felt hopeless. At the same time, as I was the only Burmese student at school, I was often looked down on or criticized. But a year or two later, I could fit in with others because I had improved my Thai.
Due to my family’s financial problems, I left that school after finishing grade eight and joined a non-profit organization established for Burmese migrant people in Chiang Mai called Bridging Educational Access to Migrants (BEAM). I attended the school from 2011 to 2012 to prepare myself for the GED.
- Age: 22
- Ethnicity: Karen, Kayan
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- Payap University
- Bachelor’s, Hospitality Industry Management
- 4th Year in Program
Goals & Dreams
- Open a business center
- Become a leader in my local business community
- Loan Amount: $7,000
- Amount Left To Fund: $6,275
- Contract Duration: 13 years
- Status: Prefunded by Zomia
Vicky, in her own words
While at BEAM I had a chance to participate in the ASEAN Education Challenge and also in BEAM’s 2012 cultural exchange as a representative for Burma. Those opportunities made me happy to introduce our Burmese culture and tradition to foreign countries, and made me proud to be Burmese. In October 2013, after two years at BEAM, I sat and passed the GED exam.
While I waited for university to start, I worked as an intern in a local NGO called Holistic Community Development Project (HCDP). I helped the organization in accounting, data collection, data entry, and data analysis, and I was often asked to do some interpretation from Thai and English to Burmese. Through my work experience from data collection and analysis I found that there are many people in our community who live under the poverty line. I also found that many villagers from the younger generation go out to neighboring countries in search of a better life, but they usually end up with indebtedness when they don’t know how to manage their businesses and there is no guarantee for their future. I was motivated to help them technically, but I still needed to equip myself with more knowledge to help them effectively. For that reason, it was my ardent desire to study international business management (IBM) in order to help my community through the knowledge I gained from my studies.
I want to be an agent of change to lead people to a brighter future. My goal is to help reduce the poverty rate in the community so that the people, especially the younger generation, will remain in Burma and be proud to be Burmese.
When many NGOs come into the country for humanitarian assistance, people become more dependent rather than stand on their own. According to my experiences from my field work, communities are not confident that they can manage their own plans or businesses. They are urgently in need of technical assistance in order to come up from the poverty line and stand on their own for their sustainable living in this changing face of the country.
On the other hand, people from our community are influenced by big companies under the economic system of the country. The biggest problem we face in Burma today is resource management. Our country has a lot of natural resources, but local communities do not know how to produce what the market needs. So, many businessmen take advantage of the local people because local people cannot compete with most businessmen.
My dream is to open a business center where local people gather together to share and learn from each other to combat the mainstream economic trends. I want to be an outstanding leader who represents them among other businessmen.
The reason I am interested in joining Payap University and majoring in international business management is that it can provide me with knowledge to lead my community to greater achievements in business management. I am the type of person who likes new challenges and discovering new ideas and ways of doing things. Once I saw the objectives of IBM, I found myself interested as it emphasizes working with others and developing leadership skills. For me, university is a place to build a network for our future career.
Another reason I am interested in attending IBM is that my country is poor and needs the help of young people who have developed skills in a number of areas, including business management. I am interested in helping the wider community in my country as well as the ethnic minorities there. With the skills I get from Payap’s program, I believe I will be able to do that and help bring about change in my country to improve it for everyone, especially the disadvantaged people.
Written by Vicky with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“The reason I am interested in joining Payap University and majoring in international business management is that it can provide me with knowledge to lead my community to greater achievements in business management. ”