Aurora Prize is given at a ceremony held in Yerevan on April 24. Marguerite Barankitse, who established Maison Shalom Orphanage for children who are orphaned because the civil war in Burundi, is awarded.
The first Aurora Prize, which is planned to be given to the people who struggle for humanity under extraordinary conditions, was given at a ceremony held in Yerevan.
Marguerite Barankitse was named as the Laureate of the $1 million Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity. Barankitse was recognized for the extraordinary impact she has had in saving thousands of lives and caring for orphans and refugees during the years of civil war in Burundi.
As she accepted the award from Aurora Prize Selection Committee Co-Chair George Clooney, Barankitse said: “Our values are human values. When you have compassion, dignity and love then nothing can scare you, nothing can stop you, no one can stop love. Not armies, not hate, not persecution, not famine, nothing.”
Aurora Prize Laureate Barankitse will receive $100,000 and donate $1,000,000 award to organizations that have inspired her work. Barankitse plans to donate the award to three organizations in order to advance aid and rehabilitation for child refugees and orphans, and fight against child poverty. These organizations are: the Fondation du Grand-Duc et de La Grande-Duchesse du Luxembourg, Fondation Jean-François Peterbroeck (JFP Foundation), and the Fondation Bridderlech Deelen Luxembourg.
George Clooney made a speech as he presented the award: “By recognizing Marguerite Barankitse’s courage, commitment and sacrifice, I am hopeful that she can also inspire each one of us to think about what we can do to stand up on behalf of those whose rights are abused and are in most need of our solidarity or support.”
It is estimated that Barankitse saved almost 30.000 orphans' lives since the civil war erupted in Burundi. In 2008, Barankitse initiated the establishment of a hospital, which cared for 80.000 patients so far.
There were 4 finalists along with Barankitse: Dr. Tom Catena, from Mother of Mercy Hospital in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan; Syeda Ghulam Fatima, the General Secretary of the Bonded Labour Liberation Front in Pakistan; and Father Bernard Kinvi, a Catholic Priest in Bossemptele, Central African Republic (CAR).