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[Tuning in] Pwint Htun, founder of Mobilizing Myanmar, on using technology to create a more equitable society

Written by Stephanie Pearl Li Published on 

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The social entrepreneur tells her story of moving to the US and then returning home to create an equitable society with the aid of technology.

Pwint Htun was born in a small rural village in Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady region. She later followed her mother to a refugee camp in Thailand after Myanmar’s national uprising in 1988, and then settled in Seattle, United States, where she studied to become an engineer, and later an executive in the US telecom sector, developing the first Android devices as well as the MySpace Mobile app for T-Mobile’s Sidekick phone. After working in the US for 17 years, Pwint went back to Myanmar with ambitions to bring mobile financial services to the country, where mobile money was still merely an idea. She helped draft mobile financial services regulations, laying the foundation of Myanmar’s burgeoning fintech scene. Eventually, she founded Mobilizing Myanmar, a nonprofit organization supporting community-led efforts to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people in Myanmar. Currently, she is also a fellow at Harvard University. 

Community members can ask Pwint Htun questions here

The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

KrASIA (Kr): Your personal story is incredible. Can you tell us about growing up in Myanmar and your relocation to the US?

Pwint Htun (PH): I grew up in a village in Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady region. Being in the rural area where we felt so at home, I had not expected to leave. However, when I failed the eighth grade standard examinations, my grandmother, who firmly believed in quality education, put her foot down. She wanted to send me abroad to study.


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