The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, is appointed to those who “risk their lives in the face of human adversity to protect and save lives.” Its muse, Marguerite Barankitse, was actually its first recipient, receiving the first $1 million grant.
During the horrific 12-year-war, Marguerite was forced to watch the deaths of 72 of her neighbors. After experiencing unspeakable trauma, she was able to save 30,000 persecuted children during Burundi’s civil war in East Africa. Defying fear and enslavement, Marguerite risked her life to offer refuge to the helpless boys and girls.
Three years after the violence ended, Marguerite founded a hospital and church for the orphaned children of her country. She was said to have treated over 80,000 patients in all.
The heroic soul returned the $1 million scholarship fund to the children she fought so hard for. East Africa was also on the woman’s to-do list. Marguerite dedicated funds to rebuild her country that had been so severely impacted by the 12-year war. By offering supplies, housing, and food she was able to ease the suffering of people sharing in her tragedy.
At the official award ceremony, Marguerite was honored by the co-chair of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, Mr. George Clooney himself.
In a closing statement, the humanitarian reveals the power within her responsible for such heroic actions.
“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,” she states.
“This prize is consolation for the whole of Burundi’s people.”
Watch as the woman accepts her reward from the movie star, George Clooney.