Htu Lai Magawng belongs to the Kachin ethnic from Myanmar. She believes women in leadership, and decision making positions are as vital in the pursuit of community development, peace, and social equity. Her foresight and vision to unite Burmese refugee women in Malaysia under one umbrella body had led her to establish the Myanmar Ethics Woman Refugees Organization (MEWRO). This organisation aims to provide a platform for refugees to work at a single unit to promote and implement education, skills development, and psychosocial programs for refugee youths. She has organised the first International Women’s Day together with refugees, migrants, and local communities in Malaysia under the theme called ‘United in Struggle’ and ‘Refugee Youths Talents Show’.
In addition, she has served as the first female community leader of Kachin Refugee Community (KRC) through a community based election and also worked as a community worker at Asylum Access Malaysia (AAM). She also supported refugee women’s empowerment projects that promote income generation and leadership opportunities for young girls.
Htu Lai is a passionate advocate of refugee protection and has spoken on behalf of refugees at various platforms to international funders, diplomatic communities, and local NGOs and community groups. Through her advocacy work, she has received support from different stakeholders to fund and support community development work.
She is currently residing in South Korea and founded the International Olive Shade organisation with her Myanmar friends from USA, Australia, Malaysia, Canada, and Japan to be able to help the people affected by Military Coup, including ethnic minority communities in the war-torn states.