From Refugee to Advocacy: The Journey of Sa Myer Oo, Miss Universe Finland 2023 Finalist
Life in the Refugee Camp
Sa Myer Oo, one of the top 10 finalists in the Miss Universe Finland 2023 pageant, didn’t have an ordinary childhood. Raised in a refugee camp for displaced Karenni people on the Myanmar-Thai border, she experienced a life filled with challenges and insecurities. The camp was akin to a prison, where the fear of torture or arrest deterred residents from leaving. Survival was a daily struggle, with donated food often being the only sustenance for Sa Myer Oo and her family.
Immigration to Finland
At the age of 11, Sa Myer Oo’s life took a significant turn. With the assistance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, she immigrated to Finland. This transition marked the beginning of a new chapter in her life, one that was far removed from the constant fear and uncertainty she experienced in the refugee camp.
A Platform to Speak Out
Despite not winning the Miss Universe Finland pageant, Sa Myer Oo valued the opportunity it provided to voice her thoughts about refugees on a global stage. She entered the competition with the intent to shed light on her background as a refugee, a subject she felt was often overlooked in the pageant world. The competition was not without its challenges, with her refugee background occasionally causing a lack of confidence.
Advocacy for Refugees
While Sa Myer Oo has moved on from her life as a refugee, she remains deeply connected to her roots and is profoundly saddened by the present situation in Myanmar. She continues to advocate fervently for the rights and safety of refugees, utilizing her platform in Finland to share her experiences. Her message to the displaced people in Myanmar is to remain strong and reassured them of continued support from expatriates and the international community.
Aspirations and Gratitude
Currently studying sociology, Sa Myer Oo aspires to earn a Master’s degree and work for the welfare of children in Myanmar. She envisages her future in collaboration with embassies or the United Nations, striving to make a positive impact in her homeland. She also expresses deep gratitude towards Finland, the country that opened its arms to her and her family, and helped her realize her worth as a human being and a woman.
A Message of Thanks and Hope
In her final words, Sa Myer Oo extends heartfelt thanks to the people of Myanmar who supported her throughout the pageant. She keeps the children of Myanmar in her prayers and remains committed to enhancing their lives, hoping that the future will bring peace and prosperity for them.
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