AJWS Grantees Win Prestigious International Recognition


AJWS Grantees Win Prestigious International Recognition

July 15, 2008

American Jewish World Service congratulates five of its grantees, who have recently received prestigious international recognition. Friends of Orphans (Uganda) has been awarded the Free the Slaves' Harriet Tubman Freedom Award; Social Action for Women (Thai-Burma border), Empower Foundation (Thailand), Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust (India) and Center for Popular Education and Human Rights (Ghana) have received the Red Ribbon Award from UNAIDS.

Free the Slaves Harriet Tubman Award – Friends of Orphans

Northern Uganda faces a devastating social crisis. Over the past 20 years, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), an armed rebel group, has recruited and abducted more than 30,000 children to serve as soldiers and slaves. Operating in the dangerous district of Pader, Friends of Orphans (FRO) is staffed almost entirely by former child soldiers. FRO, which AJWS has supported for two years, helps child soldiers reintegrate into society through education, vocational training, trauma counseling and workshops in conflict resolution.

The Harriet Tubman Freedom Award from Free the Slaves, an international organization committed to ending slavery in all forms worldwide, has been awarded to FRO for its ongoing commitment to assisting this vulnerable and stigmatized population. FRO will receive a grant, a technical assistance package, a U.S. tour and other support from Free the Slaves. To learn more about the award, please click here.

Red Ribbon Award – CEHPERG, Empower Foundation, Sankalp and SAW

HIV/AIDS continues to take its toll on the developing world, particularly in Africa and Asia. According to UNAIDS, sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region in the global AIDS epidemic. More than two-thirds of all HIV-positive people live in this region. In Asia, almost five million people were living with HIV in 2007, including 440,000 people who became newly infected in the past year.

Four AJWS grantees from Africa and Asia have received the 2008 Red Ribbon Award, which recognizes their important contributions in addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic.  The award supports and encourages innovative, sustainable approaches to the treatment and care of people living with HIV/AIDS. These four grantees are among 25 community-based organizations selected by the awards committee from around the world, out of 550 nominations from 147 countries.

In Thailand and along the Thai-Burma border, vulnerable populations are disproportionately affected by a lack of health education and resources. AJWS has supported Social Action for Women (SAW) for two years for its work in ensuring that migrant Burmese workers can access health services, shelter and HIV prevention training. Since 2005, AJWS has also provided grants to Empower Foundation, a Thai group acclaimed for its innovative HIV prevention and human rights programs that have reached over 50,000 sex workers.

In India, injecting drug users (IDUs) are virtually ignored in the effort to combat HIV/AIDS. For the last two years, AJWS has partnered with Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust, which offers HIV prevention and treatment services for IDUs across Mumbai, including those incarcerated in Mumbai's prisons.

In Ghana, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities are often made more vulnerable by the stigma associated with their identities. AJWS has supported the Center for Popular Education and Human Rights Ghana (CEPEHRG) for three years, helping the organization to provide HIV prevention programs, education and advocacy for these at-risk communities.

As recipients of the Red Ribbon Award, SAW, Empower Foundation, Sankalp and CEPEHRG will be honored at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City in August. They will also host "Community Dialogue Spaces" in their home regions with local and regional organizations, policy-makers, academics and governments.

AJWS grantees defend the rights of the world's most marginalized and vulnerable peoples. We congratulate them on this well-deserved recognition for their essential work, which warrants our admiration, awe and support.