The winner of 2014 Padoh Mahn Sha Young Leader Award, is Karen activist Naw Hsa Moo. With a certificate of recognition, the award comes with a $2000 grant, as a means to practically support the community work by Naw Hsa Moo.
Naw Hsa Moo was awarded the prize for recognition of her services to the Karen community. Naw Hsa Moo is a former vice chairperson of the Karen Student Network Group (KSNG) and is currently working with the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN) as Media Coordinator.
In a media statement the Phan Foundation said that Naw Hsa Moo met all the criteria to win the 2014 award. The Phan Foundation statement said that Naw Hsa Moo raised “awareness about grassroots people’s voice via media using radio and videos. She also does advocacy work to raise awareness about the situation of the Karen people.”
Speaking to Karen News Naw Hsa Moo said.
“I am surprised and delighted to receive the Phan Foundation’s Young Leader Award. I feel like I do not deserve it as there are many other young people who deserve this award. However, I am thankful to the children of Padoh Mahn Sha for seeing me as worthy of this honor. My family, my organization and my leaders are happy for me and at the same time, it make me realize that I need to do more for my people.”
Naw Hsa Moo, cited in the Phan Foundation statement said.
“Padoh Mahn Sha was the role model leader who I always looked up to and admired. Personally, I was very close to him and he always encouraged me and other young people to work for freedom, justice and peace. As he was the best role model, I would like to remind and encourage other youth to follow his footsteps to love Karen people and to continue working for freedom until we achieve our goal”.
Naw Hsa Moo is currently working as an advisor to KSNG. The Phan Foundation acknowledged KSNG, “as the first Karen student organisation formed in 1996 to represent Karen students, advocate for them, work for their development such as seeking educational opportunities, and preparation for future leadership as well as taking an active role in preserving and promoting Karen culture and literature.”
In its nomination letter the nomination, KSNG said, “Naw Hsa Moo, as a young woman leader, she has a strong commitment in working for her people with many achievements focusing on young Karen students. During her 10 years at KSNG, she implemented the tasks as laid down by the organisation and she was a leader that people could trust and rely on. We have seen several achievements such as the establishment of community radio stations. She is a very good role model for young people”.
The Phan Foundation statement said that Saw Say Say Phan, the eldest son of Padoh Mahn Sha and Slone Phan, the youngest son, presented the award at the Karen National Seminar in Lay Wah, which was held between 6-9 May 2015. Saw Say Say Phan said it was important to keep working for his father’s life long work to deliver justice to the Karen people. “In memory of our father, through the Phan Foundation, we recognise an outstanding young Karen leader every year by honouring them with the Padoh Mahn Sha Young Leader Award.”
Slone Phan, Padoh Mahn Sha’s youngest son said, “My father would be proud to see there are many remarkable young Karen leaders who work so hard for the development of our Karen people. We hope to see more nominations for this leadership award in the future”.
The Phan Foundation statement said that “Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan was the General Secretary of the Karen National Union until he was assassinated by agents of the Burmese dictatorship on 14 February 2008. His four children set up the Phan Foundation in his memory, and in memory of their mother Nant Kyin Shwe, following his assassination. The Foundation aims to support the Karen people in alleviating poverty, providing education, promoting human rights and protecting Karen culture.”