ALL AFRICA REPORT: A Catholic nun who is the founder of a children's orphanage in Malawi has been awarded one of the world's largest honours, the Opus Prize at Fordham Jesuit University in United States of America.
Sr. Beatrice Chipeta, founder of the Lusubilo Orphan Care in Malawi's northern district of Karonga will share the USD1.1 million awards with Jesuit Fr. John Halligan who works in Quito, Ecuador, according to Fordham University website.
The two were named as co-recipients of the million-dollar annual Opus Prize on November 11, 2010 in a special ceremony at Fordham University.
"Sr. Chipeta and Fr Halligan embody every aspect of the Opus Prize selection criteria," said Neireuther on the Fordham Jesuit University of New York website.
"We're delighted to honour these two faith-based social entrepreneurs who have dedicated their lives to addressing some of the great social issues of our day."
Sr. Chipeta, known as the "Mother Teresa" of Malawi, began ministering to orphaned children in the 1990s in poor, AIDS-stricken areas with the mission of empowering every child and adult.
Her organization supports child care centres in 64 villages, a network of food centres that serve more than 4,000 children every week, youth programs, a bursary program to help with school fees, agricultural and vocational training, and HIV/AIDS support groups and a rehabilitation centre.
Lusubilo Orphanage also supports 75 orphan-headed households by providing food and counselling services. It sponsors a residential care facility for 250 displaced children.
"There are so many things coming into my mind, but mostly it is joy. This gift makes us have hope of continuing our aid," Sr. Chipeta said.
She urged students to "listen to your inner inspiration, and take some action" to help others.
"It comes from God and God never fails you," she added.
According to Opus Prize website, Chipeta was raised as a Presbyterian but became enamoured at an early age with Catholic nuns who were ministering in Malawi.
As a young woman, she converted to Catholicism, joining the Rosarian Sisters who live and work exclusively in the Catholic diocese of Mzuzu.
She spent much of her career as a teacher, and when she retired from the classroom, focused her energies on her charity work.
The prize is an annual faith-based humanitarian award that celebrates unsung heroes, designed to provide a single significant infusion of resources to advance humanitarians' work and bring greater visibility to causes that have gone untold.
This year marks the first time in the Opus Prize Foundation's seven-year history that the award is being split evenly between two recipients.