Than Myint Aung, a well-known writer whose fiction often touches on social issues, has been named this year’s recipient of the Citizen of Burma Award, given annually by Burmese living abroad in honor of those who work for the good of Burmese society.
“We selected her to honor her extraordinary altruistic works for the people as her work has been a role model for all of us,” said Than Naing, an executive member of the Citizen of Burma Award Organization, which choses the winners of the award. The group is based in the United States, and also has branches in Japan, South Korea, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
In addition to being a writer of novels and short stories, Than Myint Aung runs shelters for HIV orphans and the elderly poor, and is also a member of the Free Funeral Service Society (FFPS), led by ex-actor Kyaw Thu.
The chair of the award committee, Wai La Win, is now in Rangoon to present the award to Than Myint Aung on Sunday, June 1. The ceremony will be held at Royal Rose restaurant at 3 pm.
The award selection committee also gives special prizes to three other individuals and community-based organizations each year. This year’s recipients are Khin Hnin Kyi Thar, founder of the Individual Philanthropy Network; Panzagar, the anti-hate speech campaign led by blogger Nay Phone Latt; and One More, a charitable foundation that accepts only donations of 1,000 kyat (US$1) or less from individual donors.
Than Naing said his group “aims to recognize, appreciate and honor volunteer Burmese individuals and/or organizations contributing their knowledge, labor, skills and resources towards social services and charities for the Burmese community inside Burma.”
The Citizen of Burma Award comes with a $10,000 prize, while the special award winners receive $1,000 each from the award committee.
The first recipient of the award, which was inaugurated in 2010, was FFPS founder Kyaw Thu. The second award was given to Daw Shu, who assisted monks imprisoned during the 2007 Saffron Revolution.
The third recipient was Laphai Naw Ming, the editor and founder of the Kachinland News website, for his courageous reporting on the Kachin conflict. Last year, the National League for Democracy’s education network was honored with this award.