Q&A: Meet Neh Meh, MA SID/COEX'23

February 06, 2023

Neh Meh, MA SID/COEX'23
Neh Meh

Neh Meh, MA SID/COEX’23, was born in Thailand but is not Thai.

As a former refugee, she is part of an ethnic group from Myanmar called the Karenni. She recently completed her practicum at the Karenni refugee camp for individuals from Myanmar on the Thai border in a Peacebuilding Through Education project. She is also president of the Karenni Youth American Association and is focused on creating an education program that helps the Karenni refugees and internally displaced people in Thailand prepare for a GED.

▶ What motivates you?

Change and my identity. All of my experiences that brought me here inspire me to create change. Who I am plays an important role in what I want to do to improve the lives of others. I think that as I had the opportunity to learn, I should pay it forward by using my education to help those in need.

▶ What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a doctor or nurse! I thought about healing and helping people. However, I realized that was not for me. I wanted social change, so I chose sociology.

Daw Noe Khu, a recently build refugee camp on the Thailand border in the jungle
Daw Noe Khu, a recently built refugee camp on the border of Thailand in the Kayah State jungle.

▶ What is the biggest misconception people have about your work?

Sometimes people may think I don’t care for other minorities apart from Karenni. However, there are others I can help with my work. Many social changes can come from focusing on one ethnic group.

▶ What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

I got married recently, and my husband knows I sometimes doubt myself. He always says, “It doesn’t hurt to try.” Even if you don’t know for sure, maybe you’ll discover something great, so it’s good to try. You should be optimistic, knowing that you can challenge yourself. That is something that education helped me understand. Education has changed my life, and I believe other refugees should have the opportunity to utilize education as a source of liberation — freedom.

▶ If you could enact one law, what would it be?

Regardless of their status, everybody should be able to access quality education. Unfortunately, there are still many people out there who are not in a position that allows them to achieve their true potential and receive formal instruction. I would enact a law that enables all people to get educated to let them be free. This educative process should provide you with tools and the opportunity to do what you like, so it should also be accessible.