A philanthropic medical doctor has been awarded the Citizen of Burma for 2016 in a ceremony in Rangoon over the weekend.
The winner of the grand prize this year is Dr Than Min Htut, founder of the Phanmeeain (Glass lamp), a philanthropic organisation known for advocating for reproductive health access for women in Shan State.
Other awardees included the Myanmar Story Tellers Group and Pann Ye Lann, a musical charity group raising funds for people displaced by civil war.
The Myanmar Story Tellers share folk stories and run workshops in schools, orphanages and community centers to tell educational and entertaining stories.
“There are story tell groups in every country but we didn’t have one in Burma so we decided to start a group with our friends and tell stories to children and to also preserve the storytelling tradition,” said Nyein Chan Phyu of the Story Tellers Group.
Nyein Chan Phyu said they were very honoured to receive the award adding, “I think we were given the award for our hard work and activities throughout the past seven years.”
The Citizen of Burma organisation was formed in the United States’ Maryland in 2010 to recognise Burmese individuals and organisations who contribute to the Burmese community. This was the first year that the award winner was chosen via internet polls rather than previous years when the nominations had been submitted by public members.
“There are many people with sense of philanthropy in Burma but they have to an extent limited freedom and support to operate,” said Tin Maung Maung Aye of the Citizen of Burma Organisation.
The organisation has currently more than 20 chapters around the world.