The winner of the 2011, Padoh Mahn Sha Young Leader Award is Saw Htoo Htoo Eh, a field worker with the humanitarian group Free Burma Rangers. Saw Htoo Htoo Eh described his work to Karen News.
“I collect information about the needs of displaced children in conflict zones in Karen State. From the information I collect I assess and organize what the children need.”
Saw Htoo Htoo Eh received his award on March 1 at the Karen World Wide Conference set-up for local and overseas-based Karen to discuss and offer their views on the ceasefire and peace talks between the Karen National Union and the Burma government.
Saw Htoo Htoo Eh says his role is to help organize and coordinate a team to deliver.
“I organize medicine, education and other welfare items for the villagers.”
Saw Htoo Htoo Eh was taken by surprised when he was told he had won the prestigious award.
“It was a big surprise. No one told me I had been nominated. I didn’t know until it was announced. I will use the $2,000 (prize money) to help promote our people’s cause and situation.”
Saw Htoo Htoo Eh is from Dooplaya District in Karen State and has worked for FBR since 2007.
“My home is in Dooplaya District, but my work with FBR takes to every district in Karen State.”
The Phan Foundation was established after the assassination of Padoh Mahn Sha on 14th February 2008. Their four children set up the Phan Foundation in memory of both Padoh Mahn Sha and his wife, Nant Kyin Shwe.
Padoh Mahn Sha’s youngest daughter, Nant Zoya Phan, told Karen News at the prize giving ceremony that the 2011 award had to choose between four strong contenders.
“All of the four were good candidates. Saw Htoo Htoo Eh was selected because of his leadership qualities. His attributes for the job were outstanding.”
Since 2008 it has given grants to young people helping their communities. The award is a grant of $2,000 to the annual winner. The Phan Foundation also funds community projects, including an orphanage deep inside Karen State, and to help young Karen students’ access further education.
The Phan Foundation has also provided funding for emergency aid to Karen people who have fled attacks by the Burmese Army, and provided clothing for internally displaced people.