My name is Waew. My three siblings and I are Shan but were born and raised in Thailand. My parents are originally from Shan State, Myanmar.
Due to the unstable political situation in Shan State, they fled Myanmar and moved to Thailand when I was a child. In Thailand, my parents became friends with a Thai family who offered to adopt my siblings and me. My parents wanted us to get a good education, so they let the Thai family adopt us, allowing us to attend Thai schools.
My father was a lychee gardener and my mother was a housewife. At that time, growing lychees was a lucrative business, so my parents were able to send us to the city to study. At first, we stayed in the city with some relatives of our foster parents. But my parents did not want to trouble them, so they sent us to stay in the school dormitory instead.
Unfortunately, my father got lung cancer and passed away when I was 14. It was the worst time of my life. We went bankrupt since my mother was forced to sell everything to support our education. Our relatives tried to help us as much as they could.
After I graduated from university, I did not want to work for other people, so I worked as a handmade accessories designer and ran my own clothes and accessories shop. Despite facing difficult obstacles, I had to stay strong and work hard to keep my mother happy.
In 2010, I met with Mr. Charng Khammai, the principal of Laktaeng School. He had supported my education financially in the past. At that time, one of his teaching staff had resigned unexpectedly, and he could not find a good replacement. He offered me a job teaching English at Laktaeng School, which is located in Wiang Hang district on the border of Chiang Mai Province. Sponsored by SWAN (Shan Women’s Action Network), the school supports children from poor refugee families. Besides teaching English, I had other responsibilities as well.
- Age: 43
- Ethnicity: Shan
- Country: Thailand
School & Program
- Chiang Mai University
- Master’s, Counseling Psychology
Goals & Dreams
- Become a counseling psychologist
- Help people rediscover hope and happiness
- Loan Amount: $7,300
- Amount Left To Fund: $5,100
- Contract Duration: 13 years
- Status: In Deferment
What Others Are Saying About Waew
Most of the students at Laktaeng School stay with their relatives since their parents are divorced or work in the city. Some parents are alcoholic and do not take good care of their children. Others are busy with their work and cannot pay attention to their kids. Many students feel unloved and neglected by their parents. As a result, they become aggressive, selfish, and unhappy.
Before I joined the school, I watched a television program about family problems. It was very useful for me since I had to communicate with students with family problems. I talked to the students and gave them advice. I gave motivational talks and brought hope and happiness to their lives. As a result, they rediscovered their self-worth and become hopeful about the future.
After working there for several years, I enjoyed talking to students and giving advice to them more and more. Throughout the years, I came to realize that I could help the students and improve their lives through my conversations with them. Finally, l decided to learn more about counseling theoretically.
In Thai society, there are a very few people who practice counseling professionally. It would be very beneficial for my students if I knew more about the theories of counseling and how to apply those theories in real life, so I searched for information about counseling psychology on the internet and discovered the counseling psychology major at Chiang Mai University. I took the entrance exam and interviewed, and eventually I was accepted.
Beside improving myself academically, I hope that my decision to pursue a career in counseling psychology will be beneficial to those in need of professional help dealing with problems in their lives. In early 2018, I resigned from my school and joined Chiang Mai University to continue my education. As a professional counseling psychologist, I would like to help people rediscover hope and happiness in their lives.
Written by Waew with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“As a professional counseling psychologist, I would like to help people rediscover hope and happiness.”