Tin Zar Oo

Chiang Rai


Originally from Kalay, Sagaing Region in Myanmar, 28-year-old, Tin Zar Oo, currently resides with her husband in Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai province, Thailand. Cared for by relatives, her son still lives in the Mandalay region of Myanmar. Although she had a tough childhood, her dream was to travel so she crossed the border to Thailand in 2010. There she found employment at a Thai couple’s house in Chiang Rai earning 3,000 baht a month.

Life for Tin was going well, but then in November 2018 she was tragically hit by a truck, leaving her seriously injured. Her arms and legs were severely damaged, and she suffered from a severe head injury. For weeks, Tin lay unconscious in a hospital, and still to this day, she has trouble with her memory, due to the concussion and brain trauma.

As a migrant worker in a foreign country, Tin did not know the rights, laws or support she was entitled to.     

Tin needed help.

Fortunately, staff working for The Freedom Story (TFS), a nonprofit organization in Chiang Rai, heard her story and paid a visit to Tin. TFS is supported by USAID Thailand Counter Trafficking in Persons project and provides legal consultation, information, and support to people like Tin. After receiving consultations, Tin Zar Oo and her husband decided to pursue compensation against the driver’s company.  However, they had to drop this idea when the truck driver’s employer threatened them with violence.  As Tin and her husband needed to live and work in the same neighborhood as the driving company, combined with their fear of threatened physical violence, they dropped the case.

Tin Zar Oo decided to move on as she felt powerless to do anything else.

After the accident, Tin’s life was never the same. She cannot walk or talk in the same way as before the accident, but instead of giving up, she works as a dishwasher at the noodle shop in front of her rental room earning 4,000 baht a month.

The Freedom Story team remains in touch and continues to educate her about labor rights.

“Tin was very excited to learn all these things. Time and again, she invited other friends to join in, as she was very helpful, active, and had plenty of free time. So, I invited her to become our volunteer.”, The Freedom Story Field Coordinator explained.

Despite her ongoing health problems, Tin now uses her own experiences and her learned knowledge to volunteer and help others in the community. Never forgetting what she went through. Tin now knows knowledge is a form of power. She has a newfound confidence that she uses to help the other vulnerable migrants in her community. For Tin, people knowing their rights has become a priority for her and she has helped her community also see the benefit. 

Photo by Suthep Kritsanavarin

San Naing


San Naing