We are thrilled to be able to announce that the Opus Prize Foundation released the news today that HEAL Africa co-founder Lyn Lusi is the winner of the 2011 Opus Prize. The Opus Prize is given annually to recognize unsung heroes of any faith tradition, anywhere in the world, solving today’s most persistent social problems. The prize will be awarded at a ceremony on the Loyola Marymount University campus on November 2nd.
This humanitarian award is one of the world’s largest faith-based, humanitarian prizes for social innovation. Opus Prize winners combine an entrepreneurial spirit with an abiding faith to combat seemingly intractable global issues like poverty, illiteracy, hunger, disease, and injustice. Opus Prize winners demonstrate that change is possible, empowering and inspiring all of us.
Lyn Lusi and her husband Dr. Kasereka (Jo) Lusi founded HEAL Africa together in 2000. As many of you, our long-time supporters, know HEAL Africa is a Congolese-led organization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, working to eradicate poor health, poverty and the oppression of women. To ensure effective assistance, HEAL Africa operates an innovative model for community-based health that works hand-in-hand with local communities and their cultures. Together with communities, HEAL Africa is creating a healthier, safer and brighter future for the people of the DRC.
This prize is tremendous recognition of that work which continues daily, away from the glamor of prizes and press. With your support, the Lusis and the HEAL Africa staff work day in and day out to bring hope and healing to the Congolese people. The funding from this prize will be a significant help to our programs working directly with communities, (in fact it will be the first time that the community mobilization Nehemiah Committees will have a specific and long-term funding base). HEAL Africa has 19 programs that work together; there is still so much more need and so much more to be done! Our programs will continue to need your dedicated partnership and support, especially because this prize has raised visibility and expectation in Congo.
Lyn Lusi is the co-founder and program director of HEAL Africa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, working to transform individuals and communities shattered by the atrocities and gender violence from the war that has been raging for more than 15 years. Lyn and her husband, Dr. Jo Lusi founded what is now known as HEAL Africa in 2000, though they began to work in a small clinic in Goma in 1996. HEAL Africa has performed more than 1,500 post-rape fistula repair surgeries, provided primary care and counseling to almost 40,000 women, established 31 Safe Houses, trained over 90,000 community activists in HIV/AIDS prevention and care, and funded more than 1,500 micro grants for families. HEAL Africa’s medical, social and economic initiatives cultivate peace and development and are grounded in faith, both Lyn’s personal faith and that of the communities with which HEAL Africa works. Lyn Lusi’s belief that each person is created in God’s image has informed her work. The work of HEAL Africa has been to provide training and encouragement for leaders and villagers, based on the belief that lasting change cannot be imposed but comes from within communities themselves.
The Opus Prize Foundation
The Opus Prize Foundation is a private, philanthropic organization. The foundation honors individuals and their organizations that are largely unsung while providing exceptional and unique responses to difficult social problems such as poverty, illiteracy, hunger, disease and injustice in the world’s poorest communities. Beyond supporting the humanitarian efforts, the Opus Prize also seeks to inspire people to pursue service to others. The goal is to provide funds that advance the winner’s work to a new level of impact, provide greater visibility and attract other supporters.
More details can be found at www.opusprize.org.