About the 2019 Sao Thusandi Award recipient, Ven. Saokhu Mendaka

Ven. Saokhu Mendaka is the Sri Lankan-educated abbot of the Long Mu Village Temple in Tang Yan Township of northern Shan State, an impoverished area affected by years of civil conflict, abuse and displacement. The community is primarily agricultural and children often have to work alongside their parents and grandparents to survive, severely limiting their future livelihood prospects. Ven. Saokhu Mendaka established the Long Mu School to address this need and foster a love of learning, raising funds from his community in order to provide free education and board for approximately fifty children in a safe, supportive environment. He also organizes classes that address other unfulfilled educational needs of the children of the community, including in Shan language and culture, English, and Chinese, helping to preserve local traditions and open future doors for hundreds of children of Tang Yan.