Meet Our Team
Although Rhi Zan has a Masters in Electronics Engineering and started her career out in the engineering field, her passion for peace and helping her community led her to do something completely outside of her field. "I love creating new books. Every time a new book comes in, it gives me more and more motivation to continue." Rhi Zan has been making the project run smoothly since taking the lead in late 2014, bringing the organization from a grants-dependent organization to a registered business and publisher.
She is a proud YSEALI alumnus and traveled to New York to intern with the Story Pirates in 2015 with the Economic Empowerment program. She was part of a team that won the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund 2016 grant that provided over 28,000 free books to children. She is a member of the Myanmar Engineering Society, the United Nation Alliance of Civilization (Youth), and one of the founders of White Sharing Donation Group which has been working with non-formal education centers since 2011. In 2016, she won the Young Social Entrepreneur Award given by the Myanmar Young Entrepreneur Association.
She is also serving as a volunteer social enterprise consultant and an educator for the British Council and Standard Chartered.
Aye Aye Mon learned about small businesses helping with her father's nickel chroming and tweezer company. She now serves as the Finance Officer at the Third Story Project and Junior Finance Officer at Swe Tha Har. Aside from the woman in charge of all the money, she helps in all aspects of the business, including as a storyteller at hospitals and in her community. In May 2016, she received a scholarship from the Myanmar Japan Center to study Human Resource Management. Aye Aye has worked as a receptionist at the Sun Institute, communicating with customers, students and trainers for a number of projects. With the Sun Institute she also served as an administrative assistant, training assistant, account assistant and trainer for interns. From 2008 to 2010, she taught English composition as a volunteer teacher at the Pyi Daw Oo Monastery.
"I really love creating new activities to accompany our books so they can be even more useful for kids."
Pwint Ni has been with the Third Story Project since June 2017. She is our book distributor extraordinaire, ensuring that thousands of books get to children in every state and division. She comes to us from a background in banking and logistics, which also helps in her role planning storyteller trainings. She is active in the volunteer group, Plus You Donation Group, which has been working to help monastic education centers since 2010.
"My favorite book is Home because it is colorful, bright and adorable. It is also a great lesson for children to learn how to live safe, strong and free."
Thant Zin Soe has been a storytelling performer for eight years. With a local storytelling troupe called the Myanmar Storytellers, he regularly tells stories in government and private schools, monastic education schools, orphanages from every religious background and public spaces. Thant Zin Soe has written many traditional folktales and contemporary children stories in local and international children's magazines. As an editor, writer and trainer, he works with the Third Story Project to make sure every book that is produced can make children happy and deliver a positive message. With the Myanmar Storytellers, he won the 2014 Thet Win Aung Volunteers of the Year Award and Citizen of Burma Award 2015. He has joined several international storytelling events throughout the world, sharing the beauty of Myanmar folktales. As a writer and co-founder, Thant Zin was able to bring many of the stories floating around in his head to life through beautiful books. He is the author of six Third Story books under the pen name Than Lwin Myint.
"I love the way the Third Story Project works with local community-based organizations to distribute the books to the desks of children from every corner of Burma. It is really centered on the needs of local communities so that learning from their feedback is ensured."
Wa Lone has been a journalist for over five years and now writes for the Reuters' Yangon Bureau, focusing mainly on politics and general news. He started his journalism career at People's Age Journal before working at the Myanmar Times for nearly three years, writing feature stories. Wa Lone has taken peace and conflict journalism courses in the Philippines and joined a democratic transition workshop in Poland in October 2014. As an American Council of Young Political Leaders 2016 Fellow, he was placed at the Center for American Progress and Congressional Quarterly (CQ-Roll Call) in Washington, DC.
"We founded the Third Story Project because in this world, people are living together from all different backgrounds, cultures and faiths. Our place has become more and more multicultural and full of diversity. Establishing tolerance and harmony has become crucial and important and nurturing mutual love and affection has become essential. Lack of understanding has led to conflicts between different communities and finally destroyed peace and stability. I love every Third Story book because they address important issues for future generations."
After working in Wisconsin politics for over 12 years, Mindy came to Myanmar in 2012. She became a volunteer teacher at Thone Htet Kyaung Monastic Education School, where she met some really incredible students, many of whom are the leaders and inspiration of this project. After many nights hatching the idea with students to create books for little people, pen was put to paper and the first book was created.
"It is tremendously exciting to hear new story ideas from the authors, but my favorite part is when the illustrations are delivered. The illustrators really know how to bring the story to life. The kids have the same reaction when they read our books and it opens their worlds to new adventures." In addition to serving as the advisor for the Third Story Project, Mindy trains political leaders on messaging and campaign techniques in a new democracy.
Jip Too is the author of two of our Third Story books: Frog and Snake and Pho Maung and Friends. She is a co-founder of the Myanmar Storytellers and has been performing Myanmar traditional folktales for children for years. We count on Jip Too for her amazing editing skills since she spent seven years working as a researcher and online editor at The Voice, a local Myanmar paper. Now she is heading up the Stories of Friendship program to bring storytelling skills to people throughout Myanmar. Jip Too has been all over Myanmar as a storyteller performer and trainer, even spending her honeymoon in Mindat teaching children about child rights and storytelling with fellow Myanmar Storyteller husband, Ogga.
"My favorite thing is creating and editing books for children. My niece loves having books to read with colorful pictures and good stories."
Me Yoh joined the Third Story team in February 2017 after working as a Field Consultant Assistant with the Women’s Rights Team at ActionAid Myanmar. In her role, she sets up all the new and exciting peace and storyteller trainings for community leaders with the Stories of Friendship project. "I am interested in reading books and sharing stories with children. Also, I like to learn about diverse traditional cultures and history." As a student, she volunteered at a summer camp and had an internship at the Peace Forum and Indigenous Gallery. She likes working with the Third Story Project because we bring books to children that cannot access books like at orphanages, refugee camps, and monastic schools around Myanmar.