Mya Mya Thin is one out of 47 Studer Trust scholarship winners in Myanmar. She was born in a poor family in the tropical zone, Magway region. The family has a small farm and grows sesame and a varieties of peas and beans. Because of inadequate and insufficient rainfall every year, the crops have been badly affected and the families and farmers in that region have often lost their crops and struggle to find the necessary to fund their basic needs.
One summer holiday in 2015, the family was discussing about Mya Mya Thin’s future education. Her elder sister and younger brother had already quit school and helped to support their family by working in the big city, Yangon, the largest economic city in Myanmar. Thanks to the small amount of support they could provide, Mya Mya Thin was able to go to school. However, in order to attend and successfully finish her final year of school, grade 10 in Myanmar, she needed more financial support than her family could provide. Grade 10 in Myanmar is an extremely crucial year not only for a student’s academics but also their personal life due to the fact that the results from their graduation exams determines whether they will be able to attend college or not. Moreover, Mya Mya Thin’s results would also impact her ability to, in turn, support and improve her family’s quality of life in the future.
Fortunately for Mya Mya Thin and her family received a phone call one hot summer evening from U Kahlar Na, a Buddhist monk who works to support a lot for the improvements of her village school while they were discussing Mya Mya Thin’s future plans. Her family shared the challenges they were facing regarding Mya Mya Thin’s education, and U Kahlar Nashared with them the work and support Studer Trustprovides for communities and individuals around Myanmar. The family stated they were very interested in learning more about this fortuitous opportunity and U Kahlar Naarranged for Mya Mya Thin and her family to meet with Cho Cho Lwin, Studer Trust’s country director and co-founder, where he described Mya Mya Thin’s outstanding performance and the financial need of her family. After completing a thorough needs analysis by checking with her teachers and principal, Studer Trust decided to support her education in 2015 through it scholarship program.
Our Studer Trust Scholarship Program supports students from disadvantaged families who need financial help to complete their high school and/or their university studies. Studer Trust believes that higher education is the key component to achieving one's potential as an adult. Studer Trust scholarships covers a variety of necessary expenses for its scholarship recipients’ education. The mission of the program is to give underprivileged students in Myanmar an opportunity to develop their own individual skills and unlock their potential. Each applicant must be nominated for the Studer Trust Scholarship by a teacher or school principal who is familiar with the student’s academic record. The scholarships reward students from low-income families who exhibit hard work and a strong will to succeed.
As a direct result of this support, Mya Mya Thin is now a third-year student, majoring in English, attending the University of Distance Education in Magway region, which provides students with the opportunity to work while also going to school part-time. She studies English because she dreams of becoming a tour guide within the next 5 years. When not at school, she also works in a garment factory to support both her own education and to improve the lives of her family.
However, because she wants to ensure that once she graduates she is able to find a better job as a tour guide, she never stops studying, finding opportunities beyond her university education to constantly improve her skills and make her more marketable in the future. Currently, in her free time, she attends computer courses in Yangon and is always looking for any opportunity to improve her technological skills and English to increase her chances of becoming a tour guide once she’s earned her degree.
She shared the following advice for students, who like her, may face challenges in achieving their goals in education: “Whoever who needs help should just keep up learning their lessons. Life will always provide them with a helper.” She also wanted to express her gratitude to Studer Trust for its continued support and stated, “I will try my best to succeed in my life”. And for its part, Studer Trust is more than happy to continue to help her.