LONDON-President Paul Kagame was yesterday awarded the Chello Foundation Humanitarian Award 2011.
The event took place in London, UK.
The Chairman of the Chello Foundation, Shane O’Neill, said the award was bestowed on the President for his “outstanding leadership of the Republic of Rwanda since 1994” .
Introducing the President, Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, described him as “an inspirational leader in Africa and for people around the world”.
“I know in terms of what he’s done for his country’s economic development, but also what he’s done to try to bring the country together after the extraordinary, divisive and terrible time Rwanda went through in the Genocide, it’s been a remarkable achievement,” Blair said.
“The African continent occupies a deep passionate place in my heart. When I see the development, huge energy, and vitality that has come into Rwanda, I realise that Kagame’s leadership has made that difference. He is an inspirational leader and it is my pleasure and privilege to have worked with him. I cannot think of anyone better for The Chello Foundation to give this Award to”.
O’Neill said that under Kagame’s leadership, Rwanda has become a nation that is globally recognized for its rapid socio-economic development as exemplified by its remarkable strides in providing equal access to quality education and health coverage to all Rwandans.
Today in Rwanda, 96% of girls and boys are enrolled under the universal primary education program, health coverage is at 91%, and intensified prevention and treatment programs for HIV/AIDS has led to a drop in prevalence from 11.2% to 3%.
Accepting the award, President Kagame expressed what continues to drive Rwanda’s success, the belief in the kind of support that goes beyond sympathy and compassion and leads to self reliance.
“Every child – regardless of geography, history or nationality – should receive the best support they need to help shape their country’s development and take control of their destiny. Let me say, however, that Africa cannot rely on goodwill from elsewhere forever. Nor should it want to,” Kagame said.
“We must work together to ensure that the support we provide now is well utilized and sustainable. That way the people of Africa will be fully empowered to continue making choices that spur prosperity and contribute fully to their collective well being”.
The Chello Foundation Humanitarian Award was established by the Trustees of the Chello Foundation in 2007. It is given to an individual who has made a significant impact in improving the lives and outcomes of those most in need.
It focuses on the education of orphans and vulnerable children impacted by the HIV epidemic in sub Saharan Africa; it is currently paying for 3500 Primary and Secondary children to go to school; the Chello Foundation is also established in Ireland and the US. It aims to have 5,000 orphans and vulnerable children in school by 2012
Previous recipients of the award include, Bob Geldof, Bertie Ahern, Peter Sutherland, Harriet Lamb, (the Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation) and Yorokamu Abainenamar, (the Chair of the African Fairtrade Network).