Harmony Foundation commenced the ceremony by paying tribute to the brave martyrs of 26/11
The prestigious Mother Teresa Memorial Awards for Social Justice 2023 was held in Taj Santacruz, Mumbai on 26th November, 2023 on the theme of “Humanity in Action”. In its 19th year, the Harmony Foundation felicitated individuals and organisations for their outstanding and selfless contributions to humanity. The esteemed event was graced by the Honourable Governor of Maharashtra, H.E. Ramesh Bais as the Chief Guest, and by the Hon. Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment of India, Shri. Ramdas Athawale, as the esteemed Guest of Honour among other dignitaries. Dr. Abraham Mathai Founder Chairman Harmony Foundation said in a statement.
The award ceremony at Taj Santacruz, commenced by paying tribute to the martyrs of 26/11 those courageous individuals of the Mumbai Police Force, the NSG commandos, and others who made the ultimate sacrifice in the fight against terrorism, for they were the embodiment of humanity in its truest form.
Instituted in 2005, the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice has acknowledged the tireless efforts of individuals and organisations across the world towards promoting peace, harmony, and social justice. Our prestigious awards are globally acclaimed and have earned the admiration of notable dignitaries, including government heads, Nobel laureates, and eminent personalities around the world. The Mother Teresa Awards, have been graciously accepted by six Nobel Laureates who have received the prestigious award post-receiving the Nobel such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
This year’s theme of the awards was “Humanity in Action”. In our world, which is marred by persistent societal challenges, conflict, and suffering, the need for humanity is more than ever. In recent times, reciprocal hostility has been devouring the fabric of peaceful coexistence among nations and communities. The news, whether local or international, is all about strife and contention. The world all over is presently infected with such diabolic acts of extremism. The Russian-Ukraine turmoil in February last year and the current Israeli-Palestinian turmoil are a few examples of persistent challenges in our world today. It is during these critical times that icons of humanity, like the recipients of our awards, are making a tangible difference in making our world a better place and in uplifting suffering humanity.
The recipients this year are advocates of humanity from around the world, and through their earnest dedication, they have strived to spread compassion, lend a helping hand, and uplift communities, exemplifying a spirit that closely mirrors the profound legacy of the revered saint, Mother Teresa:
- HEIDI KUHN (World Food Prize 2023 recipient)- was awarded for her pioneering, seminal, and compassionate work through her organisation Roots of Peace, which has successfully transformed war-ravaged landmine zones into fertile farmlands, thereby fostering peace through agriculture.
- Narges Mohammadi (Imprisoned human rights activist & 2023 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate) was awarded for her relentless and fearless efforts to be the voice of the voiceless and for her intrepid fight for the human rights of the oppressed, notably women and children suppressed by the fundamentalist forces in Iran. On behalf of Narges Mohammadi, the award was received by Ms.Ghazala a liberal Iranian woman who too stands for the cause of women’s rights. Mr. Taghi Rahmani’s (Narges’s husband) message was shared at the awards function along with excerpts from Narges’s message for the foundation.
- Judge Frank Caprio (World’s Nicest Judge)- was awarded for his humane approach to addressing offenders in the courtroom, which has played a pivotal role in restoring the public’s trust in the justice system and its dedication to ensuring fair and empathetic legal proceedings. Despite being unable to attend the event in person, Judge Frank Caprio graciously connected with us in real
time to convey his heartfelt thank-you message during the awards ceremony.
- Esteemed organisation the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was awarded for their compassionate commitment to safeguard the lives and dignity of individuals affected by armed conflicts and violence and to promote humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles. Mr Kedir Awol Omar, ICRC’s Head of the Regional Delegation for India, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan received the award on behalf of the notable organisation.
- Seal Ashram was awarded for their compassionate dedication to not only rescue and rehabilitate the homeless and destitute found in Mumbai and its suburbs but also working relentlessly to reunite them with their families. The award was received by Rev.K.M. Philip, founder, Seal Ashram.
- Magic Bus was awarded for their remarkable dedication to uplift and empower adolescents and youth facing poverty in India through education, skills development, and the provision of vital support to help them build a sustainable future. Matthew Spacie, founder of Magic Bus, received the award on behalf of the organisation.
- Snehalaya was awarded for their compassionate efforts in providing support for women and children affected by trafficking, sexual violence, HIV/AIDS, and poverty. Dr.Girish Kulkarni, founder of Snehalaya received the award on behalf of the organisation.
- Shyam Kamble was awarded for his tireless efforts to rescue trafficked women and children in India, saving countless lives and inspiring change in the fight against human trafficking.
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