Manixia Thor

All-Women Bomb Clearance Team Leader

“Our team can show that women can do anything! I want people to know that Lao women are as strong as women from other countries” – Manixia Thor

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As a mother and demining technician, Manixia Thor is helping to change the landscape of Laos, one dangerous item at a time. After completing high school in 2007, Manixia joined the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) as a UXO clearance technician. Now at age 24, Manixia has worked her way up to become the Deputy Team Leader of one of MAG’s all-female UXO clearance teams, funded by the U.S. Government. She loves working alongside the other women and believes they are a shining symbol of the great changes in current day Laos. Her all-female UXO clearance team has proved to be just as capable if not harder working than the other teams. Occasionally, some men doubt whether women can work as well as them, but Manixia and her team love to prove them wrong!

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Manixia, who is Hmong and Lao from Xieng Khoang, says goodbye to her young son before going to her work site for the next three weeks, where she will work alongside her team to clear bombs from a local village.

Manixia says UXO are a particularly big problem for farmers in Xieng Khouang, as they are in real danger of becoming the victim of a UXO explosion every time they go to the fields. Manixia is proud that through her work she is able to make life safer for farmers, their families, and other people living in the province so that they can develop and build better futures.

Manixia’s family is very much committed to supporting her, looking after her 2 year old son while she is working. Her husband is the Operations Support Officer, assisting the international technical manager and providing technical support to the UXO clearance teams.

Manixia and her family have personally experienced the dangers of UXO. Her uncle was involved in an UXO accident 15 years ago, losing one of his hands. Part of her motivation to work for MAG is to be able to help ensure that such things do not happen to others in the future.