Lay Lay Moo is an ACU Bachelor of Nursing student based in Brisbane. She was recently awarded the Catherine McAuley Scholarship for leadership and community service to create a more just, merciful and sustainable world.
Lay Lay Moo was born in Karen state in Burma. Lay Lay explains her background, “This means I call myself Karen. Even though I come from Burma I do not say I am Burmese. The Karen have been murdered, raped, tortured and used as porters by Burmese soldiers for over 60 years."
Lay Lay grew up in Nu Po Refugee camp in Thailand -- her family moved there when she was just four. “There was a lot of dust and barbed wire and our huts were made out of bamboo with leaves for the roof. We were not allowed to leave the camp. I grew up eating the same thing every day: rice, chilly, yellow bean, and fish paste. I still call the country of my birth Burma not Myanmar -- the people who called for the killing of my people changed my birth country's name."
Lay Lay received schooling up until year 9 in the refugee camp. She says, “I dreamed of becoming a nurse when I was very young because I have seen many people die from curable diseases both in Burma and also in the refugee camps. There are only 4 doctors per 10,000 people in Burma, and 10 nurses per 10,000 people in Burma. The World Health Organisation considers Burma to have a critical health worker shortage. Burma has an infant mortality rate of 122 per 1000 live births -- one of the highest in the world. These statistics make me sad and I want to do something about it. I dream of returning to Burma to help my people."
Lay Lay and her parents, two sisters and three brothers came to Australia by plane under the Federal Government Humanitarian Program.
We thought we would have the best chance for a strong future living in Australia. I feel so blessed to be studying at ACU. Sometimes I think it is just a dream. I have been overwhelmed with offers of support and assistance from ACU staff. This has been so encouraging to me. Four years ago, I couldn't even speak English, so the offers of help have been wonderful. I also love the grounds at ACU; it is a very peaceful place."
Lay Lay loves living in Australia but does also miss many things about her country. She says the best thing about living in Australia is being free.