Aung Siinn Ointha Thein: CNN Hero of the Year honors 10 people in New York

Written by Staff Writer at CNN CNN honored 10 men and women for making the world a better place on Friday in Times Square in New York. The honorees were awarded the 2017 CNN…

Aung Siinn Ointha Thein: CNN Hero of the Year honors 10 people in New York

Written by Staff Writer at CNN

CNN honored 10 men and women for making the world a better place on Friday in Times Square in New York. The honorees were awarded the 2017 CNN Hero of the Year and recognize their contribution to improving the lives of those in need.

A group of five women, from Syria, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Syria and Russia, met CNN’s Alina Machado at Columbus Circle to hear about their titles of CNN Hero of the Year: 2017.

Aung Siinn Ointha Thein, Khadija Alala, Sreeram and Ayan Albilekar, from Syria and Iraq, were awarded the accolade for their efforts helping the victims of conflict in their respective countries, and organizing a group of Burmese women to carry women’s only ration packs to malnourished women in Syria.

In a video call, CNN International’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta commended Aung Siinn Ointha Thein (ASO) for his work on treating civilians from rebel areas in Syria.

“A special purpose hospital was set up here in the northern Aleppo region, known as Damadan, because very few specialists were available because the insurgents thought the doctors supported the regime, so the insurgency was very dangerous,” Gupta said.

“The reason this hospital was set up was because these patients had no where else to go, so they would have to beg off the people who worked here, or they would end up hiding in abandoned buildings.

Gift for refugee children

“There’s so much compassion behind this, because I think all of us know what it’s like to be displaced and be a refugee. So this hospital was set up in order to provide something for those patients, for the displaced civilians — so all of those people are treated for their ailments, to make sure that they’re able to get through the war zone, come back to a normal life.”

CNN also presented the 2017 Hero of the Year honorees with a once-in-a-lifetime trip for two to New York, including airfare, a hotel, all meals, VIP shuttles and tour guides. They will be flying back to the city in December.

Aung Siinn Ointha Thein collected documents that documented people’s plight in Syria. Credit: Alina Machado, courtesy CNN

Following news reports about the atrocities taking place in Syria, ASO founded the first medical hospital in the area since the crisis started. He collected medical documentation, made formal registration forms and managed to connect with aid agencies to be able to provide care to patients.

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