Student Portrait

I am Yi, and I am the eldest of three siblings. My parents once worked as migrant workers in Mae Sot, where I spent my early childhood.

I completed grades 1 and 2 at Kwel Ka Baung School in Mae Sot, a school for migrant children. After that, my family returned to Myanmar because my mother was worried about my education.

Back in Myanmar, I continued my studies through grade 9 at a school near my village. I then moved to Taunggalay Monastic Education School (MES) and passed my matriculation exam in 2014.

After that, I joined the University of Distance Education (UDE), majoring in Law. While attending UDE, I volunteered as a teacher and earned pocket money to cover some of my school fees.

However, at that time, I felt like I was getting lost. In Myanmar, many university graduates cannot find decent jobs or make use of what they learn in school. Some go abroad. A few remain in their villages and become farmers. Even working as a migrant worker in neighboring countries earns higher income than many jobs in my country.

Because of this, many people from the village choose to leave and work abroad. As for my parents, since returning to Myanmar, they have changed jobs frequently—working in a traditional bakery, selling juices and snacks, farming, selling vegetables, etc.

The principal at MES encouraged me to apply to the program offered by Education Gathering Group (EGG). I applied while attending UDE, and I was selected unexpectedly. I took a year off from the program at UDE to attend classes at EGG. Again, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was forced to take another year off. So for some time, I was stuck in the final year of my program.

 About Yi

  • Age: 24
  • Ethnicity: Karen
  • Country: Myanmar

 School & Program

  • Thammasat University
  • Bachelor’s, Global Studies & Social Entrepreneurship
  • Withdrawn

Goals & Dreams

  • Start a social enterprise
  • Create job opportunities in my community

 Loan Details

  • Loan Amount: $2,350
  • Amount Left To Fund: $1,075
  • Contract Duration: 11 years
  • Status: In Repayment
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Quotable

What Others Are Saying About Yi

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After graduating from EGG, I was given an offer to volunteer as an assistant administer there for two years. While volunteering at EGG, I began to realize what I wanted to do and achieve in life. I have always wanted to help other people in times of financial difficulties. Attending a short training on social enterprises during my time at EGG introduced me to sustainable ways to help others financially.

The main problem that we face in Myanmar is a lack of job opportunities and areas where the knowledge attained through education can be applied. My future plan is to support my community while running my own social enterprise. My social enterprise will be focused on crafting and gardening since making crafts is one of my favorite hobbies and the primary income my family earns comes from home gardening. I would like to combine these two interests and start my own enterprise.

Through this social enterprise, I hope to achieve two things simultaneously, which are to make use of the crafting skills of community members and give them job opportunities. From the business point of view, however, this would be very risky since I don’t have limited experience doing so. Therefore, I decided to embark on a new educational journey in the field of social entrepreneurship and begin working toward that goal.

In 2020, I applied for the Global Studies and Social Entrepreneurship (GSSE) Program at Thammasat University, where I currently study. I am very happy since I am getting closer to achieving my dream and giving back to my community.

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

Yi

Yi

“My future plan is to support my community while running my own social enterprise. My social enterprise will be focused on crafting and gardening since making crafts is one of my favorite hobbies, while the primary income my family earns comes from home gardening.”

Q&A With Yi

Survey Fun

What is your favorite memory?
Coming back home as my mom welcomed me with delicious food
How would your friends describe you?
Patient, calm, and creative
What is the one thing that isn’t taught in school but should be?
Making handcrafts, cooking
What is/was your favorite subject in school?
Mathematics
What skill or ability do you most wish you had (but lack today)?
Being able to handle any situation calmly
If you could do anything you wanted now, what would it be?
Helping those affected by civil war
Where would you most like to travel?
Switzerland, the Himalayas, and the Great Wall of China
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Talapot (Karen rice soup) and Moke Hin Khar (rice noodle with fish soup)
What’s your dream job?
Running a social enterprise focused on agriculture and handicrafts

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