Bilquis Bano, Gladys Staines and Doctors Without Borders win Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice

Mumbai, Nov 23 (Washington Bangla Radio): Pakistan's Bilquis Bano, caretaker of speech and hearing impaired Geeta, Gladys Staines and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) aka Doctors Without Borders were honored with the Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice 2015.

Pakistan’s Bilquis Bano receives the Mother Teresa Award from Mahesh Bhatt in the presence of Dr Abraham Mathai of Harmony Foundation, Gen Dr BK Chopra Of the AFMS and sisters from Missionaries Of Charity
Pakistan’s Bilquis Bano receives the Mother Teresa Award from Mahesh Bhatt in the presence of Dr Abraham Mathai of Harmony Foundation, Gen Dr BK Chopra Of the AFMS and sisters from Missionaries Of Charity

The Harmony Foundation on Sunday conferred the prestigious Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice 2015 on Pakistan's Bilquis Bano, the caretaker of deaf and mute Indian national Geeta, at a ceremony held in Mumbai. Also honoured along with Bano was Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), better known as Doctors Without Borders, for their humane work in providing medical care during time of crisis. Doctors Without Borders have mobilised more than 70,000 medical personnel including doctors and nurses to respond to medical crisis and natural disasters and is the third Nobel Laureate to win the Mother Teresa Award after H.H. Dalai Lama and Malala Yousafzai.

Gladys Staines receives the Mother Teresa Award from Sis. Medard from Missionaries Of Charity in the presence of Dr Abraham Mathai of Harmony Foundation, Mr Martin Sloot of MSF & Mr Shawo, Consul General Of Ethiopia
Gladys Staines receives the Mother Teresa Award from Sis. Medard from Missionaries Of Charity in the presence of Dr Abraham Mathai of Harmony Foundation, Mr Martin Sloot of MSF & Mr Shawo, Consul General Of Ethiopia

Bano, a nurse by profession, had selflessly taken care of Geeta and provided her with shelter in a country which is otherwise considered to be hostile towards India. Her actions need to be honoured and the Harmony Foundation considered it its privilege to unanimously confer the award on her for supporting Geeta and proving that the greatest work anyone can do is to live for others.

Dr Kalyani of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) receives Mother Teresa Award from Sis. Medard from Missionaries Of Charity in the presence of Dr Abraham Mathai of Harmony Foundation, Mahesh Bhatt and Gen Dr BK Chopra
Dr Kalyani of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) receives Mother Teresa Award from Sis. Medard from Missionaries Of Charity in the presence of Dr Abraham Mathai of Harmony Foundation, Mahesh Bhatt and Gen Dr BK Chopra 

Bano’s Edhi Foundation has actively worked for providing quality healthcare to the downtrodden in Pakistan. A nurse by profession, Bano was personally present to receive the award which was conferred on her. “This award ceremony is in the name of someone who taught us how to serve our fellow human beings. I want to thank the Harmony Foundation for doing all they have done in inviting her,” said Bano.

Gladys Staines, the widow of Graham Staines, was also  honoured with the award for her work among leprosy patients in Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand, was also conferred the award.

A seminar on ‘Accessible Medical Care During Crisis’ was also held at the venue. Among those who addressed the seminar were Advocate Rizwan Merchant, Dr. Leslie Shanks, former president of Medecins Sans Frontieres and General Dr. BK Chopra, Director General Armed Forces Medial Service. The session was moderated by renowned film director and erudite human being Mahesh Bhatt.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Dr. Abraham Mathai, president of the Harmony Foundation said, “It is our privilege to honour these men and women who have selflessly worked for the betterment of the world we live in. We are very privileged to honour Ms. Bano for taking care of our precious Geeta and want to tell her that India thanks her and Gladys Staines for her tireless efforts. The awardees have taken the initiate to implement the most needed ‘Swacch Dil Abhiyaan’ with their compassionate heart to alleviate the miseries and pain of the unfortunate and underprivileged in India.”

Patron of Harmony Foundation and noted director Mahesh Bhatt said, “In these dark time when the winds of hate sweep the world, The Harmony Foundation kept the flame of selfless service alive by honouring those rarest of the rare people who chose to heal rather than wound mankind.”

Among those who were honoured Drs. Abhay and Rani Bang for working for maternal and infant healthcare; Drs. Nandakumar and Shylaja Menon for working for tribal healthcare; Rural Healthcare for their work in providing low cost primary healthcare; Auto Raja for working for the destitute; Harakchand Savla in recognition of welfare and cancer patients; Narayanan Krishnan for promoting dietary and nutritional care; South Asia Foundation for their efforts in rescue operations in Nepal.