The Phan Foundation said Saw Hsa Nay Thaw was nominated by KSNG who described him as “a leader with ability and skills and a role model for students. His strong commitment, good work and leadership has contributed so much in Karen society, especially in the educational field.”
The ceremony and announcement of the award was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The award ceremony will now take place at the 70th commemoration of Karen Martyrs’ Day in Pa-An District, Karen State on August 12, 2020, and will be attended by Saw Say Say Phan, oldest son of Padoh Mahn Sha.
Nant Bwa Bwa Phan, a Director at Phan Foundation said, “Saw Hsa Nay Thaw is an outstanding young Karen leader well deserving of this award as recognition for his hard work and commitment towards Karen education. Growing up in a conflict zone himself, and struggling to get an education, he has gone on to help ensure thousands of children have the life-changing opportunity to receive a good education.”
The Padoh Mahn Sha Young leader award was established to provide recognition and encouragement to young Karen people working for their communities. The award comes with a $3,000 contribution to support their work.
Saw Hsa Nay Thaw, quoted in the Phan Foundation statement said he was thrilled and excited to win the award. “It is a great honour of my work in helping my people. This award is also an important recognition of our collective effort as a community that will be remembered in our Karen history. The award money will enable me to provide text books for Karen students across Kawthoolei where students are struggling to have enough text books and other learning materials.”
The Phan Foundation said the award was set up by the children of Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan, in memory of their father who was assassinated in 2008 when he was serving as general secretary of the Karen National Union, and that of his wife, Nant Kyin Shwe. The Phan Foundation works to alleviate poverty, provide education, promote human rights and protect Karen culture.”