CHAMPIONS FOR FAITH-FILLED CHANGE
Opus Prize laureates are unsung heroes who, in the face of improbable odds, are creating change in their communities.
Prize laureates demonstrate meaningful faith and creativity through their inspiring work. Their leadership and dedication is helping people transform their lives.
Mercy Beyond Borders South Sudan and Haiti
Sister Marilyn Lacey founded Mercy Beyond Borders in 2008 after a visit to Sudan where she saw what she described as “by far the most devastated place” she’d ever experienced during her decades of work with refugees around the world. With operations in South Sudan and Haiti, Mercy Beyond Borders brings hope to more than 1,400 women and girls annually by providing educational, economic and empowerment opportunities where there are few options to escape extreme poverty.
Sari Bari Kolkata, India
Sarah Lance founded Sari Bari to offer freedom to the women of Kolkata, India who are trapped in the sex trade or vulnerable to being trafficked. The women are paid a living wage and given healthcare benefits, a pension, tuition assistance for their children and opportunities for advancement.
Long Island City, New York
Sr. Tesa Fitzgerald, a Sister of St. Joseph for 50 years, leads Hour Children in Long Island City, Queens, which helps incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children successfully rejoin the community, reunify with their families and build healthy, independent lives.
Afghan Inst. of learning
Sakena Yacoobi leads the Afghan Institute of Learning, which empowers Afghan women and girls through education, health services and teacher training, operating on the belief that improved education and health for women is the most effective response to terrorism and violence.
Saint Luke Foundation
Fr. Rick Frechette, an American priest and doctor, leads the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti, which provides education, healthcare and dignified humanitarian outreach to more than 150,000 people each year while employing more than 1,600 Haitian staff.
GOMA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
Lyn Lusi, who passed away in 2012 after a courageous battle with cancer, led HEAL Africa in Democratic Republic of the Congo, which provides holistic care for victims of sexual violence and war, addressing the physical, social and spiritual needs of its patients.
Lusubilo orphan Care Project
Sr. Beatrice Chipeta, a Catholic nun and retired teacher, leads Lusubilo Orphan Care Project in the Karonga district of Malawi, which manages a food distribution and infant formula program, instructs mothers on nutrition and proper child care and organizes support groups.
Working Boys' Center
Fr. John Halligan, a Jesuit priest from New York, leads Working Boys' Center, a comprehensive approach which provides food, shelter, healthcare, access to school, vocational training and a variety of social services to approximately 400 families each year.
Assoc. Solidarité Féminine
Aïcha Ech Channa, a Moroccan human and civil rights activist, leads the Association Solidarité Féminine in Casablanca, which provides services and job creation for unmarried women and their children, including day-care centers and training schools, restaurants, kiosks, a fitness center and more.
Margeurite "Maggy" Barankitse founded Maison Shalom, or “House of Peace,” which provides a safe haven for children and orphans, including former child soldiers, who have survived civil unrest and violence in war-torn areas.
Br. Stan Goetschalckx
AHADI IntL Institute
Br. Constant Goetschalckx leads AHADI International Institute, Tanzania, which educates refugees from the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi by providing post-secondary training via a distance-learning program and instruction.
Pastoral da Criança
Dr. Zilda Arns Neumann, a pediatrician who passed away in the 2010 earthquake, led Pastoral da Criança, an innovative public health program that works with more than 265,000 volunteers to help families.
Reach Education Action Programme
Fr. Trevor Miranda founded the Reach Education Action Programme in India, a system of 450 literacy centers providing opportunities for children, as well as training programs for women to learn professional and life skills that help develop their communities.
Helping Hands for the Poor, Inc
Msgr. Richard Albert, who passed away in Jamaica in 2015, led Helping Hands for the Poor in Kingston, Jamaica, a network of charities and institutions that provide basic services and skills to thousands each year.