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VOA Burmese Reporter Receives Humanitarian Award

Aye Aye Mar holding her Prachabdi Award
Aye Aye Mar holding her Prachabdi Award

A 20-year veteran stringer of the Burmese service of the Voice of America was honored this month by the royal family of Thailand with the “Prachabdi Award” for Human Rights and Humanitarian efforts.

Thailand based VOA Burmese stringer, Aye Aye Mar, was among 21 recipients of the award this year presented by the Thai Queen Soamsawali herself in a ceremony on December 9 in Bangkok. The Thailand Ministry of Social Development and Human Security organized the event to mark International Human Rights Day.

“The evaluation team carefully selected people who dedicated their lives in promoting Human Rights and Humanitarian efforts, particularly people that worked with marginalized ethnic communities,” Surapong Kongchantuk, a member of the selecting judges committee from the Thai Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, told VOA.

Aye Aye Mar was a political refugee who fled Burma after the 1988 peoples’ uprising and joined the exiled student group “All Burma Student Democratic Front.” For more than two decades, Mar has assisted Burmese migrants and refugees, exiled politicians and dissidents in Maesot, Thailand. Mar also founded SAW [Social Action for Women], a non-profit organization which helps Burmese migrant workers’ children to pursue higher education in Thailand. SAW is the 2008 winner of the “Red Ribbon Award” which honors the global symbol in the movement to address AIDS. Aye Aye Mar is not only operating an orphanage for HIV/AIDS victims, but also built a school for migrant children in Maesot. Her commitment to volunteerism, as well as her dedication and perseverance in helping people in need, has been widely recognized by Burmese diaspora groups all over the world.

Millions of Burmese tune in to VOA every week for the latest news from Myanmar, Southeast Asia, the U.S., and the world. VOA Burmese radio and TV shows feature interviews with newsmakers and experts who put local and world events into context and keep audiences informed on important issues of the day. Audience members also engage with VOA Burmese via Facebook and through popular call-in programs.