A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Ranong Story

My Big Dream - To Be A Good Translator

My name is Thandar Moe and I am 19 years old. I live in Ranong, Thailand, with my family. Actually, I come from Myanmar where I was born. I have six members in my family. They are my father, mother, one older sister, two older brothers. I am the youngest daughter. Now, one brother and my sister are married.

Eight years ago, my mom decided to move to Thailand to work, but I, and my youngest brother, were not invited. We had to live in Myanmar with my grandmother and grandfather. In 2010, I developed gastroenteritis and had bad health during school. I went to the hospital for one month. When my mother heard that I had gone to the hospital, she called my grandmother and took me and my brother to Thailand in 2011.

When I arrived in Ranong, my mother, brothers, and sister decided to support my education until I was educated because they said “you are very young to study and you must not work so you could continue your study”. My brothers and sister sacrificed for me. They did not continue their studies and worked to support my education until now.

I started studying at Maria Learning Center. Then I enrolled at Marist Asia Foundation (MAF) and studied for 4 years. Now, I am studying at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) for two years at MAF. In my free time, I enjoy listening to music, watching English channels about vocabulary, grammar, essay writing, etc., on YouTube.
The reason for learning the English language is that it is an international language. It is used everywhere. Also, knowing English improves my chances of getting a good job in a multinational company.

Thandar Moe

Burmese Migrant, Ranong Thailand / Burma Border

Marist Asia Foundation

Australian Catholic University Online Diploma Programme, 2019

I also want to help Myanmar migrant children to learn so they can be educated. Most of the migrant children do not have a chance to study because their parents cannot support them. So, migrant children have to work even they are at an age to study for their future.

I have been a teacher at Banong Learning Center for one year, teaching grade-1 and grade-2. In this school, all students are Myanmar migrants. Some students are rich because their parents have a good job with a high salary and can pay regular tuition fees, but some students suffer extreme poverty and cannot pay fees. So, their parents asked permission from the teachers to withdraw their children so that they could go to work for money.

The teachers had a meeting to decide how to solve the problem. We agreed not to accept the withdrawal of students, because we did not want students to work without an education. We asked students whether they wanted to leave school or continue studying. Their answer was that they wanted to continue studying for their future. Therefore, we decided not to accept payment from those who could not afford to pay tuition fees. We wanted our migrant children to be educated. At the same time, some students left school and worked to support their families.

My big dream is to be a good translator. I want to help translate for Myanmar migrants in Thailand because they are without education. Most of the Myanmar migrants cannot speak English and some are also not good in Thai. So, they are in trouble when they apply for jobs or for a passport at the immigration office. At the immigration office, staff discriminate against Myanmar migrants because they cannot speak both Thai and English. Hence, I want to be a translator at the immigration office to translate for Myanmar migrants who cannot speak Thai and English. I will try my best for my dream to come true in order to help our migrants.

This article is adapted from the Annual Report of the Marist Asia Foundation and is used with permission.

You can find more stories at www.maristasiafoundation.org


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