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Mingalarbar!

Hello all,

I’m Ngun Siang Kim but people called me “Siang,” “Siang Siang” or “Siangte” depending on how long the person knows me (I can tell you more about the evolution of my nickname when we meet). I was born and raised in Falam, Chin State (which is the north western part of Myanmar). When I was around 12 years old I moved to Yangon and lived with my aunt to seek a good education. I obtained my Bachelor Degree at the East University of Yangon. During my senior year of college I went to the US for six months for exchange at Saint Mary College, Notre Dame in Indiana State.

When I came back from the US, I was so inspired to share what I had learned from my time in the US with my community. I (alongside five other exchange students) spearheaded a project delivering civic and human rights training to more than 300 youth in Myanmar. I then worked for several local and international NGOs working on education and youth programs. Last spring I actually worked for the Centre for Social Integrity which is a Rohingya organization that focuses on Northern Rakhine issues. There I worked closely with the Rohingya youth and other minority Rakhine groups. I was privileged to visit Maungdaw and Dutidaung where I was able to meet and interview village leaders. I actually came to know Dragons back in 2017. Since then I have led both summer and semester programs and I am excited to be your instructor.

I am so honored to work with Greg and Hannah this summer in my country. I’m so thankful to each of you too for deciding to come to Myanmar. Many international travelers are boycotting Myanmar due to Rohingya issues. Some people think that by travelling here they are somehow supporting the current government while others worry about safety. Sadly, this has had a negative impact on local tourism and business owners and communities who rely solely from on tourism for their income are suffering. The truth is Myanmar that is a huge county that is ethnically and religiously diverse. There are many things going on here that the western media is not covering. I am thankful that you will come to learn about the issues and to see this country for yourself so that then you can make a more

This summer we will embark a journey together. We will debate, discuss, laugh, and probably cry together. For some of you, this summer trip might be your first time leaving your parents to travel to another country; or it might be the first time you travel with a group of other teenagers. Of course, it may not be easy at the beginning. Most of the experience will be totally foreign to you (like using a squat toilet, taking a bucket shower with your longyi, sleeping on the floor under a mosquito net, etc.). But, the most important thing is that you’ll learn something out of it. This experience will teach you how to adapt and appreciate a different culture. Like Anthony Bourdain said: “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

I consider myself a passionate freelance educator, project initiator, civil society leader, and civic trainer. I’m greatly interested in youth issue and I truly enjoy being around with youth like you because you’re the most passionate, adventurous, and empathetic human beings.

I’m so excited to see all soon in my country and looking forward to it.

Siang.