Four Finalists for $1 Million Aurora Prize



YEREVAN (ArmenPress)—The four Aurora Prize finalists named the organizations they nominate to receive the $1,000,000 award should they be announced as Aurora Prize Laureate on April 24th at the inaugural Aurora Prize Ceremony, “Armenpress” was informed by the Public Relations Department of IDea foundation.

If named the Aurora Prize Laureate, he or she will be granted the unique opportunity to continue the cycle of giving by allocating the $1,000,000 award to the nominated organization or organizations.

The award ceremony will be held in Yerevan, and the winner will be announced by George Clooney.

The four finalists for the inaugural Aurora Prize are:

Marguerite Barankitse of Maison Shalom and REMA Hospital in Burundi. Marguerite Barankitse saved thousands of lives and cared for orphans and refugees during the years of civil war in Burundi. To date, she has saved an estimated 30,000 children and in 2008, she opened a hospital which has treated more than 80,000 patients thus far.

Dr. Tom Catena of Mother of Mercy Hospital in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. Dr. Tom Catena is an American physician and the sole doctor of the Mother of Mercy Hospital in rebel-held territory in the Nuba Mountains, Sudan. Despite several bombings by the Sudanese government, Dr. Catena resides on the hospital grounds so that he may be on call at all times.

Syeda Ghulam Fatima, the General Secretary of the Bonded Labor Liberation Front in Pakistan. Syeda Ghulam Fatima has worked tirelessly to eradicate bonded labor, one of the last remaining forms of modern slavery, liberating thousands of Pakistani workers.

Father Bernard Kinvi, a Catholic priest in Bossemptele in the Central African Republic. Father Bernard Kinvi has provided refuge and health services to those on both sides of the civil war in the Central African Republic through his mission in Bossemptele. He has saved hundreds of people from persecution and death.

The four finalists were each asked to shortlist up to three organizations that they would nominate for a share of the $1,000,000 award if they are named Aurora Prize Laureate later this month. This $1,000,000 award will be given in addition to a personal $100,000 grant for the Laureate.

Selection Committee Co-Chair George Clooney will announce the inaugural Aurora Prize Laureate during a ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia on April 24, 2016.

Award winning actor and humanitarian George Clooney. (Source: Public Radio of Armenia)

Award winning actor and humanitarian George Clooney. (Source: Public Radio of Armenia)

Organizations Nominated by Marguerite Barankitse:


In her role as UNICEF Eminent Advocate for Children, H.R.H. the Grand-Duchess of Luxembourg visited Burundi in June 2009, where she bore witness to the inhumane detention conditions of children incarcerated in adult prisons. With the assistance of Marguerite Barankitse and her committed staff from the Maison Shalom, the organization has helped to secure the release of 600 children imprisoned throughout Burundi and provided services to aid their rehabilitation and reintegration. A share of the Aurora Prize would enable the Foundation to further assist Maison Shalom in its challenging work, as well as positively respond to the many requests for support that the Foundation regularly receives from emerging countries.


The JFP Foundation combats child poverty, discrimination and injustice – in particular abandoned or displaced children, orphans and victims of child labor, conflicts or social poverty. Since its creation in 2006, the JFP Foundation has supported more than thirty projects around the world. The first of them was Marguerite Barankitse’s Maison Shalom in Burundi and the JFP Foundation also helped towards the construction and operation of Marguerite’s REMA Hospital. A share of the Aurora Prize could further support Maison Shalom and its work for the children of Burundian refugees, as well as a related project in Democratic Republic of Congo called “INUKA”.


Fondation Bridderlech Deelen is the Catholic aid agency of Luxemburg. For 50 years, Bridderlech Deelen has fought poverty and injustice and stood up for those in need – regardless of their religion, ethnicity or gender. Together with local partners in Latin America, Africa and Asia, Bridderlech Deelen works towards sustainably improving the living conditions of disadvantaged members of society. With a share of the Aurora Prize, Bridderlech Deelen Foundation could extend its support to other projects helping those in need.

Organizations Nominated by Dr. Tom Catena:


The African Mission Healthcare Foundation supports mission hospitals, which provide approximately one-third of the medical care available on the African continent. Annually, AMHF makes possible 70,000 patient visits and several thousand corrective surgical procedures. Supported activities include HIV care and support, primary care, maternal-child health, and providing general and pediatric surgery. AMHF has been privileged to support Mother of Mercy Hospital since 2013. A share of the Aurora Prize would enable AMHF to assist other unsung heroes working on behalf of the sick and the poor and to deliver the capital improvements necessary to provide quality, sustainable medical care.


CMMB is an international, faith-based NGO providing community based, long-term, humanitarian and development aid to communities affected by poverty and especially inequities and unequal access to healthcare. A share from the Aurora Prize would enable CMMB to invest in the Mother of Mercy Hospital’s infrastructure and training for staff, as well as deliver more Interagency Emergency Healthcare Kits (IEHKs) to support Dr. Catena’s patients. The kits provide significant support as each one contains all of the essential medicines needed to serve a population of 10,000 people for three months. The Aurora Prize award would also be invested in rural, mission hospitals in some of the most remote, underserved areas of Africa.


The Diocese of El Obeid is one of the largest Catholic Diocese in the world, covering an area of more than 340,000 square miles. The Diocese opened the Mother of Mercy Hospital in March 2008, the hospital has treated more than 200,000 patients since its inception. Dr Tom Catena initially joined the hospital when it opened and has remained despite the outbreak of civil war in June 2011. The Diocese relies on donor funding to run its activities and missions, including the Mother of Mercy Hospital.

Organizations Nominated by Syeda Ghulam Fatima: 


Syeda Ghulam Fatima leads the Bonded Labour Liberation Front Pakistan (BLLF), which has liberated 80,000 Pakistani slaves who were forced to work for brick kiln owners in order to repay debts. The interest rates are too high for workers to pay off, trapping the workers in forced labor and poor—often brutal—conditions. The Aurora Prize award would help BLLF to continue its work to free people, particularly the next generation, from slavery.


The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan was established in 1987 and grown into an influential, country-wide human rights body. HRCP works in very challenging situations and faces regular threats from those opposed to its work. Among the wide range of human rights issues that the organization works on, HRCP chooses to focus on those that affect the most vulnerable – including the persecution of religious minorities, extra-judicial killings, bonded labor and the status of women. The Aurora Prize award would greatly help HRCP in institutionalizing its work and improving the rights of vulnerable sections of society.


Trócaire, one of Ireland’s leading development organizations, has worked internationally for over 40 years providing support to people living in extreme poverty, enabling them to take control over their own lives and live free from injustice and oppression. As the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Trócaire works in over 20 countries across Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. Trócaire has supported Fatima to establish Freedom Centers where workers receive healthcare, education, awareness on rights, physical protection and legal services. The Aurora Prize would greatly assist Trócaire in continuing its work to end slavery in Pakistan.

Organization Nominated by Father Bernard Kinvi:


The Order of the Ministers of the Sick was founded by St. Camillus de Lellis in the year 1586, today the Ministers of the Sick are known throughout the world as the ‘Camillians’. The Camillians is made up of about 1,200 members who work in many countries around the world. Faithful to their mission, they place especial emphasis on care for sick people, even where there is a risk to their own lives. The Aurora Prize award would be used to fund new health facilities and training for local healthcare workers, including projects across Africa.


Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.