Another award of international prestige – after the NANSEN 2016 refugee award by UNHCR – was offered to the Hellenic Rescue Team for its rescue work during the refugee crisis in our country. It’s the “Mother Teresa” Social Justice Prize, which was delivered to HRT by the Harmony Foundation (www.motherteresaawards.org), based in Mumbai, India, and this year was focused on the provision of cross-border assistance and the response to refugee crisis.
The prize, as stated in the Harmony Foundation’s announcement, was given to the volunteers of the Hellenic Rescue Team “for their heroic acts and the overwhelming effort they made, risking their lives in order to save human lives at the sea”.
The award ceremony was held in Mumbai on Sunday, December 10th, and the Hellenic Rescue Team was represented by Danai-Foteini Mavroudi, Chairman of the Board, and George Kalogeropoulos, member of the Board, who received the prize from Afghanistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Mohammad Sarwar. In her thanking speech, HRT chairman emphasized the strength and importance of the team effort made by all HRT’s volunteers whenever there is a danger for the human life and she called attention to the current existing need for support of the refugees from the social fabric of the host country, and especially the assistance that young refugees need. She also referred to the rescue work that HRT members – mainly those living in the islands of eastern Aegean – offered, with daily rescue missions at sea, but also the support that HRT received from other overseas rescue organizations as well as from foundations, private bodies and companies and by ordinary citizens. Finally, she expressed her warm thanks to all those who supported Hellenic Rescue Team and, moreover, to all volunteers who are always in the field of action, leaving behind families, friends and work.
In addition to HRT, the Harmony Foundation awarded, among others, the UNHCR, Mercy Corps, IsraAID, CARITAS, A21, the Bayat Foundation and the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban.
Previous year’s award receivers include leading figures and organizations, such as Nobel Peace Prize-winning Malala Yusufzai, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo, former Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the White Hood organization, Médecins Sans Frontières and others.