Naw Paw Gaw: Leading from the heart; serving with humility

We had the great opportunity to talk with DeBoer Lifelong Fellow, Naw Paw Gaw ’14 about the work she does and the values which guide her efforts. Read our interview with her below.

DeBoer Fellowship (DF) staff: “Why are you in this field of work?”
Naw Paw Gaw: “I believe I was chosen by God to work for women’s empowerment. I have focused all my concern, my choices and my life for this work. I’m interested in responding to the challenges faced by marginalized women in grassroots level and women leaders in the rural areas. I am deeply satisfied when all coworkers maintain their awareness on the values, vision and mission of the organization. In addition, I am pleased that we have a strong team and good relationships that result from mutual understanding between senior and junior coworkers.

The challenge in this industry is to continuously explore the leadership roles and responsibility within a socially concerned ministry. I try to stay sharp in my work with perseverance and strong commitment. Through my work, my community benefits from women’s empowerment programs and activities such as: income generation; counseling; vocational skills training; anti-trafficking campaigns; caring services for migrant workers; and trainings for leaders in different areas.”

DF staff: “How would you describe your values and the importance of integrity in work?”
Naw Paw Gaw: “All of us have our own values in life. When you respect the values of other people, you will build up your team to be strong, but if you don’t respect others’ values, you will destroy the team spirit among your team members. Sometimes, you cannot understand completely how much the value means to the other person in his or her life. Even still, respect and appreciate their values.

We cannot pretend to be a person of integrity. People can sense whether you have integrity or not. Living and working with integrity can give you necessary confidence, allow you to become trustworthy leaders, have clear conscience in our relationship with others and be appreciated as godly people.”

DF staff: “What does generosity and sacrifice mean to you?”
Naw Paw Gaw: “I understand that generosity is a willingness to give without any pressure or expectation of any benefit in return. We must always be willing to give as much as we can.

Sacrifice to me is painful, where there is no short cut and no chance for substitution. Leaders are willing to suffer the pains of sacrifice because they believe that there are great things beyond the current suffering.”

DF staff: “What are some of your reflections on crisis and opportunity?”  
Naw Paw Gaw: “There are times where we face crisis alone; but we cannot solve it by ourselves. It is almost impossible to understand any crisis clearly. We need people to participate with the right attitude to face the crisis. It is possible to turn crisis into opportunity when we face it truthfully with love and sincerity. I think that vision comes from the heart, plans come from the mind, and resources come from our experience. Especially when a crisis is global, we have to face it together and celebrate together. When we are serious and committed about our work, we feel and see the purpose of our work, regardless of the challenges.”

DF staff: “How can small actions lead to a big vision?”  
Naw Paw Gaw: “Small action taken by a small group of people with strong determination can make a huge difference. Self-help groups that I work with in the villages are very powerful even though resources are limited for them. Yet, with every action that they take, they become more united and get stronger. Starting with small action from a strong heart will lead us to our big vision. With strong commitment and effort, one can achieve the big vision.”

DF staff: “What were your experiences with the DeBoer Fellowship?”
Naw Paw Gaw: “Through the DeBoer Fellowship, I had a chance to meet with Fellows who have the same heart like me. My network became more diverse than before. Through this broader network, I was able to access resources to share with my women’s empowerment projects. Additionally, I have received support from the DeBoer network for the things that I am not capable of doing myself for my community. I was able to provide numerous trainings and knowledge sharing sessions to the various women groups from the lectures that I learned from DeBoer Fellowship.”

Naw Paw Gaw is a 2014 DeBoer Fellow. She has worked as a Secretary at Yangon Karen Baptist Women’s Association since 2000. She obtained her Master’s of Divinity degree from Myanmar Institute of Theology in 1996. She has served as a Coach in previous years for DeBoer Fellowship.

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