Finding Refuge & Friendship from Global Village Project to Agnes Scott

By June 22, 2017 No Comments

Meh Sod Paw

“My parents were born in Burma and transferred to a refugee camp in Thailand where I was born. We came here in 2007 and when we first got here I went to a public school. The first day of school I didn’t know where to go so I sat in the cafeteria for a long time. After the announcements were over, a lady came over to me. I didn’t know what she was saying so I just followed her. It was so hard because I couldn’t understand English. Getting on the bus on my first day I don’t think anyone wanted to sit with me. I was so scared and shy. I got on the bus and I didn’t know where to sit but I found a space. I wouldn’t talk to anyone and didn’t really have any friends but there was someone who would always come and talk to me that I considered my friend.

My parents always told me that education is important, so I knew I had to go to keep going to school even though it was so hard. One day I met a lady who said, “do you want to go to the Global Village Project?” I knew I wanted to go somewhere new. At GVP you have friends who are in the same boat with you and that’s where I met Zik.

We ended up going to high school together too. She would always be there for me. We had some of the same classes and I think that’s why we are so connected. I remember being so happy when I found out I got a scholarship to go to Agnes Scott. Once I got a scholarship, I knew I didn’t want to stay at home. I wanted to go somewhere new and explore life. It’s such a privilege to not be worried about money.  If my parents had to worry about my financial problems it would be a bigger issue but since they don’t have to worry, it’s so much easier. I knew that I would go to college but when it becomes a reality it really does feel like a dream. It’s a new life but we are learning a lot and pursuing our dreams. I know that I am here for a purpose to do something good in this life.”

Zikda Manrhing

“I remember coming to Clarkston in 2011 and I went straight to Global Village Project. I was there for one year because I could read a little bit of English. When Meh Sod and I met at GVP because we were at the same level in school. Since we have our own mentor it helped the transition from GVP to public school and college. We are really like family and everyone is still part of our lives even though we are gone.

When we left GVP, Meh Sod and I knew we were both going to attend Clarkston High School at the same time so we kept in touch. From there, we got into Agnes Scott. We both have scholarships and Meh Sod has the Gates Millennium Scholarship! I didn’t receive a full ride but I have some money I received from family and friends and I took out some student loans. My mom and my parents went to school but only to middle school level, so for me going to college and even having a high school diploma is a huge thing for them.

At first, when we decided to both attend Agnes Scott, MehSod and me thought we should not be roommates but then decided to. Since we both know each other really well we can be ourselves. With other people, it’s harder.

I’m very happy. Just going to school is such a privilege. Our families would not be able to help us financially. Every morning I wake up and feel thankful. Thank you for the water, thank you for the bed that I’m able to sleep in. It’s beautiful living in a beautiful mess.”

Zik and Meh Sod are former students at local grassroots nonprofit, Global Village Project. Click here to learn more about their programming, Donate to their mission, or find out about how you can become a mentor here.

Photo is property of Gather Good.