Muang is 19 years old and has almost completed his first year of university. He is studying a Bachelor of Education in Computing at Rajabhat University Lampang. Muang and his parents come from a small village in Burma.
They moved to Thailand in search of a better life when he was five years old. In their home village their only source of income was farming, which, as well as the economic instability caused by decades of civil war, left them little opportunity or scope to improve their life.
They still have family living in Burma, however they never visit as the cost of a return trip is too high. Muang and his parents’ legal status in Thailand are as migrant workers, which affords them only limited rights and freedoms, including only being able to work in menial, low-paying jobs. His mother works as an assistant in a local stationary shop and his dad is a day labourer in the construction industry.
Their combined income is about 12,000 Baht ($350) per month, enough to cover their basic day-to-day needs but very little more. They are able to contribute towards the costs of his education, but don’t make enough to cover the full costs of sending him to university.
Muang attended Kwah Dao’s After School Program when he was a child, then as he became older he worked every evening in the local tourist market on a stall selling clothes, saving the money to put towards his university costs.
Muang wants to be a teacher. He has always wanted to teach, and talking to him you can tell that he has a real respect for the profession – he looks up to the teachers at his school and is grateful for the knowledge that he has gained from them.
Equally, he sees teachhing as a stable form of employment with which he should be able to find work and that he will be able to rely on for his future. His favourite subjects are computing and social studies. Muang has chosen Rajabhat University as he says it is a well-respected institution for teaching education.
He believes that his prospects of success in his studies are down to his own determination and passion, and as this is what he really wants to do he will study hard and do everything he can to follow his dreams.
Despite not being the most naturally academic of students he studies diligently to maintain his GPA, and in the first term of university achieved a respectable 2.25. In the future he plans to stay close to his parents so that he can take care of them, and work as a teacher so that he can pass on what he has learned to others.