My name is Yadanar. I was born in Bago Division, Myanmar, where I was educated through grade 5. My father was a government officer who often had to move from one place to another. When I was in grade 6, we had to move to Karen State, where my father was relocated.
Back then, there was constant fighting between the Burmese military and Karen revolutionary groups, and conscription of porters and recruitment of child soldiers were rampant. My mother suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, so she was unable to work. Therefore, the whole family had to depend on my father’s income. As time passed, we couldn’t endure the hardships anymore. Eventually, we decided to move to Thailand hoping for a better life.
When we first arrived in Mae Sot, Thailand, in 2009, my parents couldn’t find an affordable school for us to attend. Thus, my father started working odd jobs, seeking opportunities to give my brother and me access to proper education. Later, through one of our neighbors, we got in touch with Social Action for Children and Women (SAW), where migrant women and children are given food, shelter and education. My brother and I were allowed to stay and continue our education there.
Although I was always a top student in Myanmar, I found it very difficult to adjust to the teaching and learning environment at SAW and didn’t do well in my studies. However, I did my best to finish high school. After completing high school, I attended Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Training and Adolescent & Reproductive Health Training. After finishing both successfully, I continued to serve at SAW as a GBV staff.
Although I was already working, I never gave up on my goal to continue my university education.
- Age: 24
- Ethnicity: Burmese
- Country: Myanmar
School & Program
- Chiang Mai University
- Bachelor’s, Social Science
- 4th Year in Program
Goals & Dreams
- Become a social worker
- Help Myanmar migrant workers
- Loan Amount: $1,625
- Amount Left To Fund: $1,625
- Contract Duration: 10 years
- Status: In School
What Others Are Saying About Yadanar
In 2013, I had a chance to do the Community Development Program provided by Payap University in Mae Sot. I was glad to be a part of that program since it helped me improve my management and communication skills.
The following year, there was an unexpected funding shortage at SAW, so we had to let go of many teachers due to a lack of funding to pay salaries. As a result, I had to attend the Teacher and Subject Training and worked as a volunteer teacher for a year. After working as a volunteer teacher, I joined a General Educational Development Preparatory Program in order to continue my university education.
In 2016, I was accepted by Chiang Mai University to do a bachelor’s degree in Social Science. During my summer break, I always returned to SAW to volunteer as a study guide for migrant children attending Thai public schools. Unfortunately, my mother passed away from breast cancer when my parents were back in our hometown in Myanmar. My younger brother and I were left in Thailand for the sake of our education.
Getting a university degree is a stepping stone to reaching my goals. I deeply believe I will be able to finish my program and serve my fellow migrant people using the knowledge and experiences gained from my university education. I will do my best to work for the Myanmar migrant population after I graduate.
Written by Yadanar with editing assistance from Zomia’s volunteer editors.
“Getting a university degree is a stepping stone to reaching my goals. I deeply believe I will be able to finish my program and serve my fellow migrant people using the knowledge and experiences gained from my university education.”