Fellow Since 2006
This profile was prepared when Phairot Pronjongman was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Phairot sees a great need to introduce a comprehensive program that empowers ethnic minorities and enables them to determine their priorities and chart appropriate ways to improve their economic and social conditions. A Karen minority himself, Phairot is addressing drug issues and initiating income generating projects by effectively engaging women and youth, promoting the development of community organizations and forums, and providing leadership and networking trainings. Combined, Phairot’s carefully planned mobilization scheme, awareness of local culture and development of women’s weaving groups overcome the challenges these communities face within an increasingly competitive and globalizing world. In fact, no serious effort has been made from government authorities, citizen organizations or communities themselves to implement a community-based program methodically addressing a wide range of problems. Phairot is creating opportunities for all to understand the community workings and putting pressure on local officials and the broader public to recognize and protect the vibrant diversity and abilities of ethnic minorities.