The winner of the 2015 Padoh Mahn Sha Young Leader Award, is Sa Shine, a youth educator from the Hpa-an Youth Network. Sa Shine was presented with the award at the 66th commemoration ceremony of the Karen Martyrs’ Day held at the Karen National Liberation Army’s 7th brigade headquarter on August 12, 2016.
Saw Say Say Phan, one of the founders of Phan Foundation and the elder son of Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan, spoke to Karen News on why Sa Shine was chosen as the winner for this year.
“We carefully selected the winner from seven other nominations this year. The winner, Sa Shine met our criteria and has been working hard on education issues for youth.”
The winner, Sa Shine was recognized for his work on education issues, including at refugee camps on the Thai Burma border and for other Karen organizations, the Thabyae foundation in Burma, the Hpa-an Youth Network and the Taunglaya Education Center.
Sa Shine told Karen News that the words of Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan were his motivation.
“When Padoh Mahn Sha was alive, he always said Karen youth must study. Karen youth should be educated leaders and have to stand up for their people. I always remember his words and I worked hard on this. I am delighted to be awarded and it has encouraged me.”
In a media statement the Phan Foundation said that the foundation was “proud to be able to present Sa Shine with the Padoh Mahn Sha Young leader award. He is an exceptional young leader with ability and the skill to successfully support his community.”
The statement said that as a result of Sa Shine’s hard work, many young Karen people now have access to further education and employment opportunities, for example, 12 students received a scholarship to study in universities and schools. Some of them are now running social development programs in their respective fields and are contributing to their communities.
Sa Shine, cited in the Phan Foundation statement said.
“I would like to thank the children of Mahn Sha for giving me the Padoh Mahn Sha Young Leader award. I dedicated it to all young Karen leaders who realized the vision of Tee Mahn Sha and have become the change makers. I am thrilled to be part of it. I would like to take this opportunity to inspire the rest of our young Karen people and all the children of our great Leader, Mahn Sha Lah Phan.”
Nan Aye Aye Thwe, a community leader who nominated Sa Shine for the award said in the Phan Foundation statement that “Sa Shine worked hard to inspire those around him through action. He is a truly outstanding youth, making a huge difference to society every day. As a role model and a mentor for youths, he always tries to create and find learning opportunities for youths to grow and contribute back to their community development. He wishes to see that youths of diverse background work together, respects each other’s values, and preserve their cultures and natural environment.”
The Phan Foundation explained that “Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan was assassinated by agents of the Burma military dictatorship on 14 February 2008. In memory of Padoh Mahn Sha and his wife, Nant Kyin Shwe, their four children established the Phan Foundation with the aim to support the Karen people through poverty alleviation, education and human rights and culture preservation.