hseng2.jpgNang Hseng was born into a family of farmers in Shan State, Burma (now Myanmar). As a young child, she helped the family during crop season and endured years of traveling long distances on foot from their farm on the far side of the forest to go to school, at times with resistance from the Burmese Army. These hard times taught her to be resilient and she became determined to finish local school, high school and then to complete her bachelor’s degree.

She says the educational system in Myanmar is biased. Rural high school graduates are not permitted to pursue majors such as medicine and engineering and female students who qualify, need to have higher grades than males to be able to study those majors. She, being a rural woman, could only study botany which is the lowest of major studies. These constraints prompted her to leave for Thailand. After living with all the social injustice, she knew she needed better education to help her people and to do more for her country. Volunteering for a Burmese women’s organization in Thailand led her to focus on women’s rights and health issues and in time she became a spokesperson, often getting invited to speak at local and international events.

Over the years, she has become a skilled and in-demand broadcaster for educational radio programs airing throughout Myanmar and Thailand. She is now finishing her master’s degree in Public Health at Rajabhat University in Thailand in the hopes of returning to Myanmar and using this degree to lobby for health issues, as well as getting into the Ministry of Health.