Join us, as we congratulate one of our hard-working and brilliant students: Moa, upon her graduation from university.
Moa has been a part of the Kwah Dao Organization since it was founded in 2000, where she studied at the Rainbow School. Now, she is graduating from Mae Jo University in Chiang Mai, with a degree in Accounting.
Moa was only 2-years-old when her parents first brought her to Thailand. They travelled by foot from their village in the Lankur District of Shan State. It took them 5 days to reach a refugee village in Thailand.
Moa and her family weren’t settled for long, before everyone in the camp was arrested for working without a permit.
Her father managed to escape without arrest but Moa and her mother, Tuay, spent a week in prison before being fined and deported.
The family reunited in Burma and stayed there for a few more years. They worked growing rice and sesame seeds to save the money they needed to return to Thailand. When Moa was 6 and her younger sister, Suay-Mat, 3, her family had saved and borrowed enough money to go to Thailand again.
Moa’s family now live in the Rock Village, where Moa’s parents work collecting rocks from the river. This is backbreaking work which pays only 200THB per day (barely enough to live off, and well under the Thai minimum wage).
Both Moa and her younger sister don’t have birth certificates, which has caused them a lot of anxiety and uncertainty whilst growing up in Thailand.
With a birth certificate, Moa would have a greater chance of obtaining a Thai citizenship, which, she believes, would gain her a greater acceptance from the society she calls home.
Despite these challenges, Moa has continued to work hard and pursue her education. Even after being told she might not be allowed to receive graduation certificates from university, she did not give up.
Moa worked on her studies whilst also working at a shop after school and on weekends (saving most of the money she earned).
She saved up to 20,000THB to put towards her education – an impressive feat for a teenager whose family has so little. When Kwah Dao heard of her goals and how hard she was working to reach them, we stepped in and offered to pay for her study fees, meaning she could use her savings for travel, living and other related expenses.
Moa now has education in both accounting and law, and hopes to continue with her law studies one day. She views education as the only way she can improve her life and that of her family. She wants to be able to support them so they don’t have to work so hard, and make them proud of her.
Moa is a driven, hard-working student, who always achieves top grades. She loves studying and hanging out with her friends, despite reporting that she sometimes gets harassed by others and called names because she is Shan.
Moa has had to overcome so many challenges in order to achieve this degree certificate, and we are so proud of her determination and resilience.
So, congratulations Moa! We will continue to support you in your goals of creating a brighter future, with more opportunity for success.
Though there are still challenges and obstacles that Moa might face, we are excited to encourage and support the opportunities that will follow her graduation: something that wouldn’t have been a reality without the funding she received through Kwah Dao.
Kwah Dao’s mission is to equip all disenfranchised, underprivileged children with the means necessary to pursue an education, so that they can improve their lives and enhance their future opportunities like Moa has.