Thura Hein

I have experienced many challenges and obstacles from being a refugee and orphan on account of lack of access to opportunities for life improvement; however, I have managed to become a reliable person for my vulnerable communities by taking an important role. I believe I deserve to be selected for your program's scholarship in the light of my perseverance, strength, and determination to achieve my goals. Thus, this paper will focus on two main areas: life experiences and skills and qualities from my work experience.

Firstly, being a refugee and orphan is the most difficult life experience for me because of many challenges and obstacles. For instance, I was born in a village, called Pha Waa Hta, in Karen State of Burma where civil war between KNU (Karen National Union) and SPDC (State Peace and Development Council) mostly occurred. Whenever civil war occurred, all local residents had to run to hide in the forest for safety; some people were killed by bullets in front of me whilst running. In 2003 and 2004, I together with my family suffered from hunger for three days whilst hiding in the forest because of having no food. Furthermore, I could not continue my education on account of civil war and poverty. At the end of 2005, a severe civil war occurring between KNU and SPDC around my village caused all inhabitants to run into the forests for safety; I was separated with my family members during the war, and I migrated to one of refugee camps, called Mae La Oo camp, on the Thai-Burma border.

I had to walk for five days in order to arrive to the refugee camp; some people were killed whilst migrating to the refugee camp because of land mines; however, I was fortunate that I could be able to migrate safely to the refugee camp. I stayed in the orphanage because I had no family and relatives; fortunately, I obtained an opportunity to continue my education in one refugee high school. I could manage to earn exemplary grades and graduate at the top of my class in 2010. In 2011, I would be able to continue my education in one post-ten program in Mae Sot on the Thai-Burma border. However, an education that I received was not officially accredited by any government, and I had many challenges to continue my further education. Albeit my education certificates were not recognized, I could obtain a full scholarship with a diploma in liberal studies from ACU (Australian Catholic University) in 2015 for two years studies because of my commitment for my communities. In March of 2017, I graduated from ACU with a high GPA, and I, finally, came back to Burma and dedicated my life to work for vulnerable communities and people.

Secondly, I have obtained invaluable skills and qualities from my work experiences. For instance, I have taken part in a number of leadership roles in the communities since I was admitted to work as a primary teacher and mental health counselor in Mae Sot on the Thai-Burma border for three years. In 2012, whilst working as a primary teacher in the migrant school, called The Best Friend School, I observed that many migrant parents did not allow their children to study at school because they forced their children to work in the agricultural fields and factories in order to make more money. As a result of low literacy and child labours, many vulnerable children became victims of child trafficking and sexual abuses in the communities. In order to mitigate those problems, I organized teachers to form a team in order to educate migrant parents to understand the importance of education for their children. After educating migrant parents for two months, my team was able to organize them to allow their children to study in the school; many parents began to send their children to the school regularly, and consequently, problems of child trafficking and sexual abuse were effectively reduced.

From 2013 to 2014, working as a mental health counsellor enabled me to effectively assist many migrant parents to recover from their psychological illness and to integrate into their normal lives again. From April of 2017 to October of 2017, I took a role working as a tutor and student mentor in one online education program, called Bridge Program in Myanmar Project (BIMP), led by the Marist Training Resources from Australia. I was able to help students to improve their English skills, basic computer skills, critical thinking skills, and some interpersonal skills. Furthermore, from November of 2017 to February of 2018, I worked as a national coordinator together with a psychosocial specialist from London in Lashio YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) in Lashio Township of Northern Shan State of Myanmar. During my work as a national coordinator, I was able to help local organizations and some NGOs to improve their capacities in terms of psychosocial support skills which will be helpful in implementing community development. Consequently, I have obtained leadership skills, management skill, communication skill, organizing abilities, self-confidence, time management skill, and interpersonal skill in the light of my work experiences.

In conclusion, I do deserve a scholarship to study in this program because of my life experiences and invaluable skills and qualities from my work experiences. Finally, I believe that awarding me the scholarship will enable me to effectively assist to improve the lives of vulnerable people and communities that I work for every day in my communities.