12 Jun Rising Star Feature: The Power of Education
“Education can change people’s lives,” Ei Thin Zar, commonly known as Eve, shared. Born in Kawkareik, Karen State, Myanmar, Eve’s family was not financially capable of supporting her education. She had to support herself throughout her university education and even founded her own school to teach underprivileged youths. Eve’s story is a testament to the power of education to uplift the lives of the underprivileged.
Unwilling to give up on her education, Eve found a way to continue pursuing higher education without financial support from her family. In exchange for food, shelter, and tuition fees, she worked as a domestic helper for a household with twenty family members. Before and after school everyday, Eve had to complete household chores, take care of the children, and cook for the family. The experience was not easy for a fifteen year-old, yet Eve managed to stay positive amidst her struggles: “it was hard, but at least I could continue with my studies.”
After graduating with her Bachelor’s, Eve founded Eve Learning Centre for high school students in Mawlamyine. Although it was difficult running a school as a Muslim woman in Myanmar, her passion to share her knowledge shone through and the school was extremely successful. Eve had about thirty students every year; half of whom were unable to pay tuition fees. She never turned these underprivileged students away—instead, Eve subsidised tuition fees for them. Many of her students went on to graduate from universities.
However, many of these university graduates became blue-collar workers. Eve realized that more has to be done in the form of nation-wide education reforms and decided to pursue her Master’s and PhD. Instead of providing a cure to the problem of poor education, she decided to tackle the root cause of the problem. Eve hopes to be part of the educational reform in Myanmar to empower women, minorities, and the underprivileged.
Eve is an inspiration for Rising Stars, Mentors, and all young women alike. Unfazed by her situation and environment, Eve has worked hard to achieve much for herself. Come Fall 2017, she will be pursuing her PhD in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.