Thein Than grew up on a small farm in Danuphyu Township in the Ayeyarwady Delta, a region of Myanmar (also known as Burma). He had no access to post-elementary schooling in that community. So to continue his education, he moved to Yangon, the country’s largest city. Leaving Danuphyu was a natural step for Than to take. Most residents there struggle to survive by farming small plots of land, and the trip to Yangon—a city of shimmering golden pagodas, a city of opportunity—is only a short...

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