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Doodling a way out of poverty

My name is Min Thant Htun. I am a freelance doodle artist and one of the Youth from LP4Y in Yangon, Myanmar. I faced a lot of difficulties to follow my dream and to come to LP4Y, but I am doodling my own way out of poverty!

I come from a small town named Kyaukpadaung in central Myanmar, so it was very challenging to live in Yangon at first. Yangon is a developed city where there are numerous opportunities to pursue our dreams, but they are not accessible to everyone as living expenses are costly. You also need a strong network to have access to job opportunities. In my small town, I could not do anything about my dream: it is far less common to have art events in the countryside, and finding a job in this field was impossible. Due to our country's situation, my father did not let me go to Yangon. I argued with him every night. Finally, seeing my strong motivation, he let me go to Yangon. Before letting me go, he told me: “Whatever you do, you must have a purpose.” I was very happy at that time and I was thinking about steps to make my dream come true.

When I arrived in Yangon, I had no place to stay. My cousin's sister offered to let me stay at her place and I have been living there since then. During the first two months in Yangon, I was lost. It was hard for me to communicate with other people and I had no money to buy art material, which is expensive. I could not afford it. I felt depressed and thought that dreams are expensive. I did not know how to pursue my dream. To buy material, I started working as an art assistant teacher in a private school for kids. I also started playing football in Yangon every weekend to relax and make connections. This is how I met Ye Ko Ko, one of the Catalysts who is working at LP4Y. I decided to join the program, wanting to get a decent job in Yangon.

I received my first 24 marker pens bag as a birthday present from my parents. I drew the pictures and sold them to my friends. But art material is expensive. Sometimes, when I cannot afford it, I borrow it from my friends.

Challenges are still there even after joining LP4Y. It takes me about 1 hour and a half by bus to come to the center every morning and every night to go back home. I always miss my home and I face a lot of challenges, but I also learn a lot of things at the same time. In LP4Y, I learned how to use a computer for the first time. Now, I know how to use Google Slides and I have basic finance knowledge. I will work as a digital communication assistant after LP4Y. My long term goal is to become an animator.

If you face challenges in your life, do not stop and keep going. You should try to accomplish whatever you decide to do no matter how many challenges you face. It will all be worth it in the end.

Min Thant's cartoon drawings


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