Maw Moe Bu, 34, has come a long way since she arrived in Thailand as a refugee more than two decades ago.

The elected leader of Ban Mai Nai Soi camp has fulfilled many roles and overcome many challenges during her 22 years in the camps, earning along the way the trust and respect that saw her top the poll for the  top camp management position in 2017.

Born in the village east of the Salween River, Maw Moe Bu remembers when she was a child and had to abandon her old life.

“In 1985, the Myanmar Army came to our area and we lost all our property. We fled and sought refuge at the Thai border, and I’ve been living in Ban Mai Nai Soi camp ever since,” she said.

Over time, the married mother of one daughter progressively moved up the camp management leadership track, earning the confidence of colleagues and residents with her commitment, skills and hands-on approach, and showing in the process that women are well able to lead.

During 2011 to 2013 she worked as camp secretary for Ban Mai Nai Soi, during which time she experienced a ‘baptism of fire’ when a serious fire broke out in the camp.

She liaised with the Mae Hong Son local government and others, and handled the pressured situation with skill and grace.

Maw Moe Bu held a variety of leadership and management roles from 2014 to 2017, when she also helped deal with the aftermath of another fire that affected 135 households, including her own home.

After winning the KnRC election held on July 17, 2017, she now represents the Karenni Ban Mai Nai Soi leadership and management team for 2017 to 2019.