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In this edition of our Faces of Change series, we hear from Mueda Nawanat, who grew on the Thai/Myanmar border. While she herself was born in Thailand, because she is a daughter of refugees from Myanmar, she is considered a “stateless” person.

Because of this, she was denied a scholarship and high school diploma, required for attending university. Mueda became so vocal about life as a stateless student that academics, lawyers, and politicians referred to her experience as a case study in the development of laws for stateless people. Eventually, she helped pass Article 23 in the 2008 Nationality Act, which allows people born in Thailand before 1992 to apply for citizenship. Da officially became a Thai citizen in 2008 because of this.

She was motivated to attend EarthRights School Mekong after witnessing the impacts of unsustainable development in stateless communities. After graduation she created the Mekong Youth Assembly, network of youth groups in the Mekong Region that strengthens communities’ capacity to defend their earth rights.

Mueda believes that: “I don’t fight for myself, but I fight for my family and also my village, so that if I fight, if I win, they also win with me.”