Hermann Gmeiner Award 2018
– 16 April 2018
2018 Hermann Gmeiner Award winners announcement
Dr Muruga Sirigere, a physician from India, and Maria Anggelina, an activist against human trafficking from Indonesia, are the two winners of the Hermann Gmeiner Award for 2018.
Dr Sirigere cares for some of the most vulnerable people in India, providing free medical care particularly to children. He also mentors young people, especially those who have dropped out of school, encouraging them to pursue their studies and their dreams.
Maria Anggelina is a champion for the cause of children and marginalised women in Indonesia. Through her work with the Good Shepherd Sisters, she has been involved in the rescue of some 40 young people who had fallen victim to human trafficking. Furthermore, by raising awareness with parents and children, Ms Anggelina hopes to reduce the number of trafficking victims.
The bi-annual Hermann Gmeiner Award honours inspiring women and men who were cared for in SOS Children's Villages and who have gone on to become role models in their communities.
This year's winners were chosen from eight finalists selected from 71 nominees from 30 countries. Over a month-long voting period, donors, supporters, co-workers, children and young people in our SOS Children’s Villages were able to cast their vote online for one woman and one man. In the end, more than 120,000 votes were cast – a record number for the award.
“Our work impacts the lives of children and young people every day. Many of these young people have not only built successful lives for themselves, but they have also supported their communities and people around them,” said SOS Children’s Villages International President Siddhartha Kaul.
“This year’s winners – Dr Muruga Sirigere and Maria Anggelina - work in the spirit of Hermann Gmeiner by serving their communities and the most vulnerable people in society,” President Kaul added.
The winners thanked those who supported them and hoped it would draw attention to their specific causes.
“This award is very important for me, because with this award, many people can see my work for those who are weak,” said Ms Anggelina, 35, who grew up in SOS Children's Village Flores. “I hope that more people become aware and care about the rights of women and children.”
“I feel very humbled and honoured to be one of the winners of this prestigious award," said Dr Sirigere, 33, who grew up in SOS Children’s Village Bangalore. “I would like whole heartily thank everyone who is responsible for my present day achievements from the time I joined this noble organisation." Further, he dedicated the award to SOS families around the world and to Hermann Gmeiner for "giving me an opportunity to chase my dreams and achieve it."
Ms Anggelina and Dr Sirigere will be honoured at an event on 22 June in Innsbruck, Austria to celebrate SOS Day and the 99th birthday of Hermann Gmeiner.