Lisa Nesser, Founder and Executive Director of Thai Freedom House; community language and arts learning center for Burmese refugees and minority groups in Thailand and owner and visionary behind Free Bird Cafe; ‘a cafe with a cause’ social enterprise, has lived and worked in Thailand for the last 12 years, since 2004. She has been organizing refugee services in various capacities since 1996, working with Bosnian, Tibetan and Burmese groups, independently facilitating trainings, education workshops and cultural exchange. She is driven by a passion for service, study of culture and a compulsion for defending social justice and human rights. She founded Thai Freedom House in 2005 and since has provided free classes to Burmese refugees and Thai minority groups, seven days a week, teaching five languages, weekly arts, drama and music classes in addition to community development, computer skills, vocational trainings, healthy food and lifestyle workshops, HIV/AIDS awareness workshops, emergency services, young mothers support, anti-human trafficking workshops, health check ups and more to thousands of people whom would otherwise have nowhere to access those services.
Her vegetarian/vegan restaurant; Free Bird Cafe has become an integral part of the local community serving as an information center about local events and current events in Burma. She meets with visitors and International exchange students weekly to give educational talks about the current situation in Burma/Myanmar and insight into the lives of refugees in Thailand. FBC also regularly hosts wellness events and lectures by visiting healers, teachers and artists, adding to the rich cultural fabric of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
She has lived and worked with refugees from all over the world since the age of 17 when she began her journey as an international volunteer and educator. Before that, since the age of 12 in her birthplace of Saint Louis, MO, USA, she had been involved in volunteering and campaigning to make the world a better place through the actions of like-minded individuals. She first became an activist for animal rights at age 12 and got a taste of the social change you can make if you stick by your morals.
In more recent years she has brought to surface her gifts as a healer and performs energetic/spiritual space clearing and energy work on clients combining her training as an aromatherapist, crystal and reiki healer and aura reader, in person and online. She has combined this with her online business selling crystals for healing and personal adornment in the Lisa Byrd Collection where she also sells Yoni Eggs and teaches women how to get more in touch with power center, their womb. This work has been very rewarding for her and has allowed her to travel around the world leading workshops on Womb Healing and wellness.
Lisa is a leader, an educator, an entrepreneur and a mentor and in addition to that, an influential motivator and passionate activist who serves as an inspiration not only to her students, interns and volunteers but to her peers to become involved in their communities and make a difference. She truly believes in the power of manifestation and positive intention and has the proof of it in her work.
A vegetarian for over twenty years, reiki practitioner, aromatherapist, youth mentor, teacher trainer, hospice volunteer, enthusiastic traveler, avid photographer, and vegetarian chef, she aims to live her life as an example of loving kindness and hopes that that emanates and spreads from her heart to others.
Thai Freedom House Founder and Executive Director
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand