Tanma was formed in September 2010 by 3 refugee women groups who had organised themselves and their communities. They were running empowerment and livelihood programmes for refugee women. The three groups are : 

These three groups remain as core Tanma members.

The objective of organising these three different groups under one central organisation arose from the vital need to share resources in order to provide sustainability for the groups and to protect their rights as women and as workers, especially since many companies were exploiting them for cheap labour.

Realizing the critical need to combine their strengths and resources for the betterment of themselves as refugee women, and for their fellow community members, three refugee women ; Ms. Khin Mar Aye (Mang Tha), Ms. Tanda Htun (Kaoprise) and Ms. Stella (CWO) supported by Ms. Elodie (a volunteer who had worked with them) formed the idea of cooperative for and led by refugee women. Tanma was then born.