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Mi Kun Chan Non (2010)

Mi Kun Chan Non

Mi Kun Chan Non

My Name is Mi Kun Chan Non. All friends of mine call me Mi Kun but my official name is Mi Khin Khin Kyu. I love to be called Mi Kun or Mi Kun Chan Non, as this is my native name. I am an ethnic Mon Woman from southeast Myanmar and I am working with the Mon Women’s Organisation (MWO). When I studied at Kimmage, I was the Programme Coordinator at MWO’s Women Empowerment and Community Development Programme. Currently, I am the Vice Chair and Director of the Mon Women’s Organization, Chairperson of Mon University Student Welfare Association, an advisor to the Mon National Education Committee, and an advisor to the Mon Community Based Organizations Network. In addition, I am an advisor to the Myanmar Peace Support Initiative (MPSI), a Norwegian-led initiative to build trust and confidence in the ceasefire and peace process. MWO aims to promote women‘s participation in decision making roles and women participation in leadership roles.
Women of Myanmar and especially Mon Women face many difficulties. The Mon people were one of the first ethnic groups to settle in Myanmar, but today are part of an ethnic minority group that continues to be under-represented in most state institutions. The marginalization of the Mon people in Myanmar and the exclusion of Mon women in political and civic affairs resulted in the marginalization of women in their own society. They are considered to be second class citizens. Women have no chances to make decisions in public life although some are able to make decisions within their families. Women need to be skillful and qualified enough to be recognized as leaders. In some cases women need to be successful business leaders in order to become decision makers. I consider myself to be a women’s leader and a community representative with long-term experience working in and for communities. However, I believe that gaining and improving one’s education is a way to empower oneself for the benefit of local communities you are working for.

 

My aim for studying at Kimmage was to increase my knowledge and understanding by combining my practical knowledge of working at the grassroots level with the state-of the-art classroom theory and knowledge of development studies. Furthermore, I expected that my time and studies at Kimmage would help me with my work back home as a women’s activist and build my capacity and confidence. I still remember how I had to struggle during my studies at Kimmage. Before coming to Kimmage, I had never completed reading an English book, but only focused on proposal writing and report writing for projects. English is the third language I had to learn. Even though I had made preparations, I soon realized that it was not enough once I arrived at the university. This experience however increased my confidence. I received a lot of help and assistance from my fellow-students and friends at Kimmage and till today I am very thankful to them.

 

There were several important lessons that I learned and experiences that I made during my studies at Kimmage. The most important lesson is about self-learning style, which is to combine class lectures, own experience and reading for reference. This had been my very first experience, as in Myanmar we only memorize and recite texts without content analysis. Education in Myanmar only focuses on memorization rather than analyzing and understanding content and context during self-study. The second lesson I learned was about the effort one has to put into a research proposal in order to successfully complete it. This includes the research for my Master Thesis. My supervisor gave me valuable input and support, in order to successfully complete it. Doing research has now become one of the main activities of MWO and I am passing on the knowledge I received at Kimmage to the next generation of young Mon Women. One of the most relevant courses during my studies and one I also enjoyed the most was the sustainable livelihood course, which was also the most relevant for me to apply back home. I can still remember the wealth ranking exercise. Financial Management and Project Management were also among the most practical courses at Kimmage, as they relate to my daily work with MWO in Myanmar. Political economy, however, was the course I enjoyed and understood the least.

Overall, my time at Kimmage has been invaluable for me and MWO and I enjoyed my time with faculty and fellow students.

 

 

 

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