Naw Bee Bi, Odyssey Scholar
Naw Bee Bi was born in Karen State, a war-torn and impoverished region in Eastern Myanmar, that according to the 2022 UN Global Trends Report currently houses 1.3 million forcibly displaced refugees. Upon losing her mother to illness when she was only 7 months old and miraculously surviving a mine attack unscathed that claimed her father’s life, Naw Bee Bi was forced to relocate to the Mae La refugee camp. At Mae La, she worked diligently to earn educational certificates, hoping they would enable her to one day attend a university. Unfortunately, after years of effort and dedication, Naw Bee Bi learned that educational certificates were not accepted by Myanmar and Thailand universities. Upon hearing this devastating news, Naw Bee Bi courageously sought out and earned a General Education Development (GED), enabling her to become a qualified university applicant.
Naw Bee Bi’s unfaltering determination to pursue her education was recognized in 2022 by the Institute of International Education. She was awarded the Odyssey Scholarship, which is a comprehensive scholarship package for student refugees and displaced individuals. The funding covers tuition, housing and living expenses for students pursuing four-year bachelor’s degrees as well as advising services, community support and practical resources they may need along their journey.
Sometimes I’d lose my hope to attain my dreams, but since I wanted to be educated, I didn’t focus on those problems”Naw Bee Bi
Through the Odyssey Scholarship, Naw Bee Bi is currently pursuing a degree in Digital Media Communication at Assumption University in Bangkok, Thailand. Naw Bee Bi seeks to use photography and film to raise awareness of the dire conditions of her home, as well as to improve educational support and resources for refugees.
Launched in 2021, the Institute of International Education Odyssey Scholarship provides displaced and refugee youth populations the resources and support to learn, grow, and prosper so that they may be catalysts for positive change.
Click here to learn more about the Odyssey Scholarship, and how it is providing life-alerting funding that advance access to higher education for displaced populations and refugees like Naw Bee Bi.