Marasri completed her degree from Rajabhat University in May 2016. She joined Kwah Dao as our new Program Assistant. She gave half of her first month’s salary to her parents, delighted that she is now able to help them after they supported her for so many years.
Marasri’s parents are from a small village in Burma, where they worked as farmers. There, the Burmese military junta often commandeered their supplies and food. Along with other village members, Marasri’s father was forced to be a porter for the army, which was both extremely dangerous and physically demanding. Rebels in the Shan military often hid in the village’s surrounding forest, and they, too, demanded money from local farmers. Marasri’s parents were caught at the crossroads of two armies, even though they themselves had no wish to fight.
In order to escape the abject poverty and violent conflict, Marasri’s parents moved to Thailand. At first, they had to move often, in search of work and a sense of safety. Eventually, they settled in a town with other Shan migrant families, and Marasri was born three years later. She started studying at the school set up by Kwah Dao and then enrolled in a Thai school when she was 8 years old. Marasri struggled to fit in and throughout her time in junior and high school, other children would taunt her by claiming that she should not have the right to go to school because she was Shan. Her resilience is truly inspiring.
Marasri is now 24 years old and completed university in 2016. Following her high school graduation in March 2013 she was awarded a scholarship to study computing from a large company which covers her university fees. Kwah Dao is helping her with a partial scholarship to cover her living costs throughout her degree. Without this extra support, she would be unable to attend, as her parents have menial, low-paid jobs and cannot contribute enough for her to live on. At first, Marasri found it very difficult being away from her family for the first time, especially her mother, who also missed her terribly. She has always been an outstanding student and was determined to complete her education, seeing it as the best chance she has to improve her life and that of her family.