Media release from Phan Foundation For immediate release, 1st June 2013
2012 Padoh Mahn Sha Young Leader Award Goes To Nant Thandar Aung
The Phan Foundation is pleased to announce that the 2012 Padoh Mahn Sha Young Leader Award has been awarded to a Rangoon-based community worker, Nant Thandar Aung for her outstanding leadership and dedication in community development and the promotion of human rights.
This is the first time the Phan Foundation has given the Padoh Mahn Sha Young Leader Award to a young Karen leader in the government’s direct- controlled areas. Every year, the Phan Foundation recognises an outstanding young Karen leader by honouring them with the Padoh Mahn Sha Young Leader Award that comes with a $2,000 grant, to help the winners to continue their community work that Padoh Mahn Sha would want to support. He always encouraged young people to fulfil their potential and help develop their community.
Nant Thandar Aung joined the Karen Women Empowerment Group (KWEG) as a relief worker in 2008, and helped the organisation in it’s relief mission during cyclone Nargis hit Burma’s Irrawaddy Delta areas and helped save many lives. She then went on to become a project manager of Anti-Human trafficking program for KWEG where under her leadership, her organisation has rescued many young women from delta area which were trafficked into China and Thailand. In 2010, she travelled to Mu Se, Burma-China border town, and rescued 20 young Karen women from Pan Ta Naw despite a long and risky journey and her being threatened by the traffickers. She is also playing a leading role in the promotion of women rights and human rights through campaigns, youth mobilisation, training, and public education. She involved in organising a Human Rights exhibition in Karen State in 2011 and the International Day of Peace in 2012 in Rangoon/Yangon.
She was nominated by Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe, Director of Karen Women Empowerment Group. In the nomination letter Susanna wrote, “Nant Thandar Aung has brilliant talents and qualification to work with an international organisation, but she chooses to work at a local Karen organization without big financial support and benefit for her.”
“Despite many challenges and decades of oppression by Burma’s central government, there are still many remarkable young Karen leaders who have been working hard to help their community. Our father would be pleased to know thatNant Thandar Aung is a great example who provides a positive future for our next generation”, said Nant Zoya Phan, Director and Founder of the Phan Foundation. “More than ever, this is the time the Karen need charismatic and robust leadership in the face of new challenges, and we are playing our small parts in encouraging more young Karen leaders with the hope that these young leaders’ courage and dedication will inspire more young people.”
Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan, former General Secretary of the Karen National Union, was assassinated by agents of Burma’s military dictatorship on 14th February 2008. Following the assassination, the Phan Foundation was set up in the memory of Padoh Mahn Sha and his wife Nant Kyin Shwe by their children.
For further information and for interview please contact:
Nant Thandar Aung- + 66 803449510 (Thai)
Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe- + 66 8 499233 56 ( Thai), + 95 9 730210 25 (Burma)
Nant Zoya Phan- +447738630139 (UK)
Note to editors: The award ceremony took place on Friday 31st May 2013 at the 9th Karen Unity Seminar, in Lay Wah, Hpa-Ah District. The award was presented by Saw Say Say Phan, oldest son of Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan.