2017 Joint winners Saw Eh Tho (left) and Naw Hser Hser (right)

Frontline Medic Wins 2018 Padoh Mahn Sha Young Leader Award

Saw Joseph, a medic with the frontline humanitarian organization Free Burma Rangers is the winner of the 2018 Padoh Mahn Sha Young Leader Award.

In a media statement the Phan Foundation said the annual award is given to young Karen leaders who have demonstrated they have developed their communities. The award comes with a $2,000 grant.

The Phan Foundation said Saw Joseph is regarded “as one of FBR’s top medics and is a medical leader of the group’s international teams providing relief in Burma, Iraq, Kurdistan and Syria. He was the most outstanding Ranger of his class and was chosen to attend FBR’s medical school, the Jungle School of Medicine Kawthoolei, where he excelled.”

The Phan Foundation said Saw Joseph used his medical skills to help “displaced people in Burma’s Karen State, Shan State and Kachin State. He then attended advanced medic training and upon graduation, he became an instructor and lead trainer for new FBR relief teams.”

The Phan Foundation pointed out that Saw Joseph served as a lead medic with FBR and “became one of the most skilled health care providers in Karen State. He is willing to do difficult and dangerous jobs without hesitation. In 2015, he was chosen by FBR to lead medical care for people under attack by ISIS in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq. He gave medical training for over 500 Kurdish Peshmerga, treated over 1,000 sick and wounded Kurds and risked his life under ISIS fire to save wounded Kurdish. Recently he helped to provide medical care of displaced people in Syria.”

David Eubank, Director of Free Burma Rangers paid tribute Saw Joseph in his application for the award. “Joseph’s innovative leadership and quiet professionalism earned him the respect of both FBR staff and students. He improved the quality of the group’s trainings and raised the morale of all the Rangers. He is loved by all he meets and is one of FBR’s best Rangers.”

This year’s award ceremony is being held during the 70th anniversary of Karen Resistance Day in Mutraw district. The award ceremony will be conducted by Saw Say Say Phan and Slone Phan, the two sons of the assassinated Karen revolutionary leader, Padoh Mahn Sha and his wife, Nant Kyin Shwe.

Slone Phan, a director of the Phan Foundation said “we are very proud of Saw Joseph, for his amazing humanitarian work with Free Burma Rangers saving many lives not just in Burma, but also internationally. His courage, bravery and commitment give us hope for the future of our people. He is a good role model and example for us all. Giving Padoh Mahn Sha Young Leader award to outstanding leaders like Saw Joseph is one of the best ways to honour our father and keep his spirit alive through young generations carrying on his dedicated work for the Karen people.”

The Phan Foundation said the award was set up by the children of “Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan, following the murder of Padoh in 2008, in his memory and that of his his wife, Nant Kyin Shwe. The Foundation works to alleviate poverty, provide education, promote human rights and protect Karen culture.”

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