Student Portrait

My name is Wongap. I was born in Supao Village in the eastern part of Nagaland. Nagaland as a whole is divided among two countries, western Nagaland in India and eastern Nagaland in Myanmar.

My father is a freedom fighter and as a result, we could not live peacefully in our village because the Burmese army would come on patrols from time to time. When I was about the age of two, my parents left and settled in Kohima City in the western part of Nagaland, in India. While in Kohima, I was educated in a Christ King School. From there, I was educated up to my matriculation.

Sending me to school was hard on my parents because their only source of income was from sales of the Naga history book my father had written. Apart from that, although my mother wanted to take on some small business activities, she could not do anything because of security concerns.

In 2009 when I was in grade 7, the burden on my mom became heavier when my father fled for refuge in Thailand after two of his comrades were murdered. At that time, I could not do anything to help my mom. The only thing I felt I could do was to avoid asking for anything from her.

After my matriculation, I was sponsored by one of my father’s friend to go to Kros College in Kohima, and as a part of our agreement, I would work for him in his field on my holidays.

When I turned 19 in 2015, my mom finally took me to Supao Village, where I was born. It was a long journey which took us two days of travel by bus and a day on foot. I was excited that I would finally see my birthplace, but when I reached the village, I was mortified. For my whole life, I had been complaining about how unfair and hard my life was—and standing there, I was slapped by the regret of how I had never acknowledged my opportunities and blessings. In the village, there was only one school, and it had very few books and hardly any teachers. The village received only one hour of electricity per day, and internet access was out of the question.

 About Wongap

  • Age: 23
  • Ethnicity: Naga
  • Country: Thailand

 School & Program

  • Payap University
  • Bachelor’s, International Business Management
  • 3rd Year in Program

Goals & Dreams

  • Own an international business
  • Create job opportunities for people in Nagaland
  • Build non-profit schools in Nagaland

 Loan Details

  • Loan Amount: $6,225
  • Amount Left To Fund: $4,975
  • Contract Duration: 13 years
  • Status: In School
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Quotable

What Others Are Saying About Wongap

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Looking at all this environment, I felt that I was the most fortunate individual from the village, yet I was a boy without a goal who only saw the negative side of the world. This realization set me on a new journey to strive to bring opportunity to this community.

In the same year, two months after I visited my village, my father called me to Thailand, and I came as an illegal immigrant. I was finally able to reunite with my father after six years being apart. On the other hand, I was unable to attend a university because I did not have any documents. For one year, I stayed in the Eastern Naga Development Organization office in Mae Sot, where I helped by teaching English and basic computer skills.

In 2016, my father called me to Chiang Mai and made me a Thai tribal card. With that, I was able to enroll at Payap University in Chiang Mai. At present, I’m working to earn a bachelor’s degree in International Business Management.

It is my dream that one day I can return to my village and create job opportunities, helping establish businesses and building non-profit educational institutions. Being from a poor financial background, I have been striving for job opportunities to escape the poverty trap. It is my belief that if I can provide this opportunity to my community, I will live a meaningful life.

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

Wongap

Wongap

“Being from a poor financial background, I have been striving for job opportunities to escape the poverty trap. It is my belief that if I can provide this opportunity to my community, I will live a meaningful life.”

Q&A With Wongap

Survey Fun

What is your favorite memory?
My first fishing experience, though I did not catch any fish!
How would your friends describe you?
Too straightforward
What is the one thing that isn’t taught in school but should be?
Leadership skills
What is/was your favorite subject in school?
Economics
What skill or ability do you most wish you had (but lack today)?
Ability to overcome pride
If you could do anything you wanted now, what would it be?
Get a white-collar job
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Traditional Kachin fish curry
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Skilled in managerial field and running my own business

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