More than a decade ago, the late author and movie director U Thu Kha got the idea of providing free funeral services in Myanmar when he was being hospitalized. Alongside him in the hospital was a dying woman who was abandoned by her family who could not afford the cost of her funeral. In collaboration with celebrated film actor and director, U Kyaw Thu, he founded the Free Funeral Service Society (FFSS) – a charity that provides free funeral services in Myanmar to those who are unable to afford it since 2001. The organization has over 500 staff members and a headquarters situated in North Dagon Township in Yangon. To date, FFSS has provided burials for nearly 200,000 people.
“I used to be a victim of drugs and alcohol. Now I came to realize philanthropy is much more addictive than those,” U Kyaw Thu shared. In 2003, he was elected as vice president of FFSS and became president five years later.