Meet the Staff

Jo Swift – Educational Program Director

Jo is an education and community development professional who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Burma Border Projects. She is committed to community development and believes that working together can make the world a better place to live.

Prior to joining Burma Border Projects, Jo had worked in Mae Sot as a volunteer with the Youth Connect Foundation, teaching English and building a curriculum. Since then, she has worked full time with Youth Connect and subsequently with Mobile Education Partnerships, training teachers in 16 Migrant Learning Centers on the Thai-Burma Border.

Jo is extremely passionate about empowering the schools to be self-sufficient. The learning centers need the tools to empower them. They are proud and hardworking but they need the money donated to set them on the right path.

We are excited to welcome Jo on board to help us create our new Educational Programs, beginning with the New Wave Learning Center.

Zaw Htat – Headmaster, New Wave Learning Center

Zaw Htat is the headmaster at New Wave Migrant Learning Center in Mae Sot. Growing up in Burma, he benefitted from his family placing high value on education. This allowed him to graduate from the University of Western Yangon. After graduation, he migrated to Thailand for better employment opportunities. There, he became a teacher at a Migrant Learning Center. But he soon realized that migrant populations were underserved in the area of education. That is why he founded the New Wave Learning Center in 2008. Since then he has worked tirelessly to support Burmese migrant children in their quest for an education.

Interested in sponsoring Zaw Htat, helping him find the funds needed to continue his valuable work with NWS? Please visit our Sponsorship page to learn more.

Thae Mar Tun – Teacher, New Wave Learning Center

Thae Mar Tun grew up in Burma and finished two years of Univeristy. However, due to lack of employment opportunities, she migrated to Thailand with her husband in 2009. There, she began working as a neighborhood tutor and child mentor, going on to teach at two schools in Thailand. She has been teaching at the New Wave Learning Center since 2013.

Interested in sponsoring Thae Mae Tun, allowing her to continue her valuable work for migrant and refugee children in Mae Sot? Visit our Sponsorship page to learn more!

Soe Soe – Teacher, New Wave Learning Center

Soe Soe earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography and worked as a teacher in Myanmar for 17 years before immigrating to Thailand. She came with her husband, both hoping to find better work and to be able to support their two children. Today, Soe Soe is widowed, supporting her two children on her own.

She joined NWS in 2006 and has dedicated herself to the children at the center ever since.

Interested in sponsoring Soe Soe? Please visit our Sponsorship page to learn more.

San Dar Htew – Teacher, New Wave Learning Center

San Daw Htew received a Bachelor’s degree in geography, then migrated to Thailand in 2010 to look for better employment. She joined New Wave School in 2011. San Dar Htew is dedicated to her students and wants to see each of them succeed. She knows that some parents don’t value education and works to change that perception in her students and hopefully in her parents as well.

Interested in sponsoring San Dar Htew so she can continue her dream of providing education to Burmese migrant children? Please visit our Sponsorship page to learn more.

Michael Forhan, BBP Founder and Executive Director

SAM_3844Michael Forhan has spent much of his life working in the international arena. He successfully established two companies in Rangoon, Burma from 1994 to 1997. Prior to his time in Burma, Michael had built a career for himself in the international educational travel industry. In the summer of 1998, Michael traveled to the Thai-Burma border, where he met Dr. Cynthia Maung for the first time and received her permission to feature her in a documentary film. Meeting Dr. Cynthia, coupled with his growing awareness of the enormous needs of the Burmese refugees and migrant workers living along the Thai-Burma border, inspired Michael to enlist the support of several Boston-area trauma therapists to establish Burma Border Projects, Inc. as a tax-exempt, charitable organization in May 2000. At the time of assuming the role of Executive Director of BBP, Michael was Director of Special Projects in the Northeast and in Asia for NASA’s Center for Technology Commercialization in Westborough, MA. He presently serves as Director of Corporate Development for Passports, Inc., a Massachusetts-based international educational travel company.