With a background in medicine and a passion for social justice, Cing Niang was born to help others.
A former medical doctor, Cing took her career on a new trajectory when she joined an intensive six-month program for female entrepreneurs in 2015 that saw her launch her own online business – – to promote and support the exquisite artisan works of female weavers who belong to the Chin people, one of the most persecuted minority groups in Myanmar (Burma).
“I wanted to do something to help the women weavers in remote villages earn money and empower them by bringing their tribal fabrics to an online platform,” Cing says.
“It’s a small start-up but the vision is big – I want to make a social impact,” she says.
“At the time I was completely focused on my family and the business that I couldn’t even imagine pursuing a master’s degree again, so it was a life-changing moment for me.
“When I was deciding what university to study at, I was really impressed with the VU website.
“Hearing the stories of international students made me so excited because it seemed like such a multicultural, friendly environment, and I wasn’t wrong.
“I’ve felt part of the community since the day I arrived.”
Immersing herself beyond the VU community, Cing has spent the past few months volunteering at the Migrant Information Centre – teaching youngsters in a local playgroup and tutoring students in aged care.
“Volunteering enabled me to meet new people and be part of a real community so that I didn’t feel like a stranger anymore.
“My advice to international students like me is to get the most out of your time here, whether it’s by getting the most out of the subjects you learn or the networks you build.”