Wai Hnin Po, known to her friends and colleagues by her nickname Po Po, is the current Director of FED Thailand. Born and raised in Yangon, Po Po was forced to flee Burma as a young woman after facing pressure from the military regime. Her father, friend to FED’s Founder Htoo Chit, had been imprisoned in the early 1990s as a member of the political opposition. Shortly after arriving in Thailand, she began working as a teacher in a learning center of the Myanmar Christian Assembly on the Thai-Burmese border. During this time she began studying for her first degree, in English, and briefly returned to work in Yangon as a clerk. After being introduced to FED and Htoo Chit via her father, Po Po moved to the south of Thailand to work in the organization as an intern.
In early 2006, Po Po became Finance Officer and oversaw the drafting, monitoring and reporting of all of FED’s program budgets. Later in the same year, she developed and coordinated FED’s first children’s forum – a subsequently regular event designed to encourage Burmese children to develop their capacity for critical thinking, engage in structured debate and confidently express their opinions whilst having fun and being creative. After Cyclone Nargis devastated much of Burma’s coastal areas, Po Po led a research team to the Irrawaddy Delta to investigate and monitor the human rights violations inherent in the Burmese regime’s response to the disaster. In February 2013, Po Po was selected as a steering committee member of the Mekong Migration Network (MMN).
As Deputy Director for four years, Po Po was a central force in FED’s organizational evolution. Her patience, foresight and passion are well-respected amongst her colleagues in the sector and those who know her personally. As a result of Htoo Chit’s frequent trips abroad garnering support for Burmese migrants and increasing FED’s exposure, Po Po routinely assumed the responsibilities of Executive Director and became a core provider of strategic leadership. Currently, Po Po is in the final stages of her second degree, in accounting, and lives in Phang Nga with her family.