Mare and Win - Education for the Whole Community

Mare (left), from a village outside Khun Yuam, and Win (right), from a village near Mae Sariang, are Karen students from the region of Mae Hong Son who have just celebrated the end of their first year at university.

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Their path to an education and opportunity however, has not been the easiest one. Mare is the youngest of three children, and her older sisters now have children of their own. Win is also the youngest of three children. Both of their parents are subsistence farmers, whose livelihoods provide few opportunities for their children to pursue an education.

64% of people in Mae Hong Son live below the extreme poverty line of less than £1 per day, preventing families from supporting their children’s schooling. Only 1 in 4 Karen children from the province complete their secondary education, and the cost of university education prevents many gifted students from pursuing their dream of further study.

However, thanks to the generosity of our donors and fundraisers, we are providing talented students such as Mare and Win with scholarships to study at university. The KHT currently has 18 scholarship students, studying everything from Accounting to Mechanical Engineering.

Mare has just finished the first year of her four-year degree in Community Development at Chiang Mai Rajabhat University, while Win has successfully completed the first year of his five-year degree in Thai Language at Mahamakut University. They are both the first in their families to attend university, and their parents are hugely proud of their achievements.

“My mother is very happy that I am going to university.” - Mare
 

In their free time Mare is a real bookworm and likes to read books in the library, and Win likes to play football and traditional drums. They are both enjoying life as a student and having the chance to achieve their goals.

Many Karen scholarship students have the ambition of helping their fellow community members follow in their footsteps. Both Mare and Win are hoping to return to their communities after graduating, using their newly acquired knowledge and skills to enrich the education and opportunities of future generations.