The Words of the Oswald Family

NGOs Honored For Contributions To Peace

Rachel Oswald
Published November 20, 2005
Special to World Peace Herald

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Five of the world's leading NGOs were lauded and praised Saturday evening at the 2005 World Association of NGOs (WANGO) Awards Banquet in Santo Domingo.

"This is like the Academy Awards for NGOs," said Fredrick Swarts, assistant secretary general for administration and finance of WANGO.

Master of ceremonies for the night, Noel Brown said of the award recipients, "They inspire us to move forward and achieve the heights that we are capable of."

Bharatiya Jain Sanghatana (BJS), the first recipient of the night, was honored with WANGO's Education Award for its work in creating over 1,800 schools across India. BJS is a non-profit, non-political, voluntary organization working in India on social reforms, community development and disaster management in addition to its work on education.

BJS's founder and president, Shantilal Muttha accepted the award and invited WANGO to hold its next conference in India.

"In Indian culture if we take something, then we must give something back," said Muttha promising that BJS would take on even greater responsibilities throughout the Indian subcontinent in the future.

The WANGO Humanitarian Award was given to The Ladies Charitable Society (LCS), a group based in Iran that is dedicated to the care of the elderly, young, and impaired who are without other resources. The group has over 2,000 members who volunteer their services at hospitals, earthquake sites, and wherever else they are needed.

"We were most impressed with the sacrificial service of the women in this society, who exemplify the remarkable tradition of charity through zakat and sakaka," said Brown who is also the president of Friends of the United Nations.

"Whatever we do for God must be the best because he has provided us with the best," said Farhat Mehdizadeh, international affairs coordinator for LCS. Accepting the award with Mehdizadeh was Shima Mofid, granddaughter of the group's founder.

Hogar Crea Dominicano, a Dominican NGO that deals with treatment, prevention and research related to psychoactive drugs, was awarded the WANGO Society and Health Award for its efforts. In its 30 year history, Hogar Crea Dominicano has treated thousands of cases and has rehabilitated an average of 565 individuals per year.

"They are to be commended for setting the standard for others to follow," said Brown.

Heidi Kuhn, founder of Roots for Peace, and the recipient of the WANGO Peace and Security Award, accepted her award onstage with her daughter, Kyleigh beside her. The Mother and daughter from California traveled to Afghanistan together to walk across a live minefield as part of their work in eradicating landmines.

Roots for Peace is a humanitarian organization that in addition to eradicating landmines works to rehabilitate the land to make it agriculturally productive. "Landmines are indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction that work in slow motion. Until they are eliminated peace cannot be sustained, "said Kuhn.

For its one hundred years of service in encouraging high ethical standards in all vocations and its efforts in building peace and goodwill in the world, Rotary International was awarded the WANGO Century of Service to Humanity and Society Award. Founded in Chicago Illinois in 1905, today there are approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belonging to more than 31,000 Rotary clubs located in 167 countries.

In 1985 Rotary made the commitment to immunize all of the world's children against polio. Today more than one billion children have been immunized and Rotary has contributed 500 million dollars to the effort. "Victory is within reach and will be in hand soon," said Serge Gouteyron, vice president of Rotary International, upon accepting the award.

The awards banquet was held at the conclusion of WANGO's annual conference. This year's conference theme was the role of NGO's in creating a world fit for children. WANGO is an international consortium of NGO's working together to for human rights, economic development, and the environment. WANGO considers Rev. Sun Myung Moon to be the source of its founding vision, and he remains its major supporter. Rev. Moon founded News World Communications, which publishes World Peace Herald.

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