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Burmese Refugees Tell Their Success Stories as Students in the US - 2004-05-06


Former Burmese refugees from India are doing well as students in University of Indiana in Bloomington with high ambitions for the good of Burma.

Eliza Varney is an ethnic Chin who finished high school in Mindat township and studied for two years at the University of Rangoon. In 1998 he found himself in India as a refugee. There he heard about the Burmese Refugees Scholarship Program.

Thanks to that program he is now taking a non-degree course in Informatics, Accounting and Math at the Indiana University in Bloomington. He told VOA that he hopes to finish his doctorate there to be able to work back in Burma as an economics professor.

Another student Yaza Tint Swe, who comes from Monywa, was also a refugee in India after finishing high school in Burma in 1994. Through Distance Education Program he graduated high school in India and continued to pursue computer studies independently from 1998 through 1999.

Yaza Tint Swe finally graduated from Manipur University in India in computer science in 2001. He said he really likes the American educational environment at the Indiana University where he works part time, studies, diligently copes up with a lot of homework all by himself. His ambition is to be a computer scientist in future Burma.

Another ethnic refugee who tells a moving success story is Nwan Thuay, a Chin girl who first arrived at the New Delhi Refugees Center in 1998. She picked up the English language only when she got there and studied English grammar hard through the Distance Education Program.

Later she studied at a Bible School. While there, during a three-month recess, she worked as an interpreter at the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. After graduation, her proficiency in English helped her land up as an interpreter for women patients at a clinic for refugees in New Delhi.

She told VOA that she is bracing for the Indiana weather -- following the footsteps of other Chin students who came before her to the Indiana University in Bloomington -- in order to fulfil her goal in life.

A wonder of wonders is the story of Aung Kyaw, an ethnic Arakanese who was studying in the fourth grade when he left his hometown Paletwa for India as a refugee in 1993.

He went through the mill studying in the State of Mizoram in India up to the eighth grade and finishing high school through a correspondence course from National Open School in New Delhi. He graduated from Delhi University with a degree in political science. Currently, he is taking a course in journalism in Indiana University with a strong will to work as a correspondent in southeast Asia.

These touching stories of the four former-refugees-turned-students of the University of Indiana could be an inspiration for other refugees from Burma who, for reasons beyond their control, are now displaced in various parts of the world.

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