Hermann Gmeiner Award 2002

Dr. Enamul Haque, Bangladesh

On 29 November 2002, the Hermann Gmeiner Academy was the venue of the ceremonial awarding of the Hermann Gmeiner Award. Award-winner Dr. Enamul Haque, who grew up in an SOS Children’s Village in Bangladesh, was awarded this prize because of his great commitment as a medical practitioner. “I feel very honoured that I was chosen”, said the award-winner in his speech, “and I would like to express my sincere thanks to the SOS family: It was the loving family- and social atmosphere of the SOS Children’s Village that showed me the way.” Mr. Helmut Kutin said in his eulogy: “I am deeply convinced that by choosing Enamul Haque we have found somebody who deserves this award. This award is linked with a request upon the award-winner to serve as an example to the best of his ability and to help as many people as possible in his home country Bangladesh.”

Kutin remembers that day in 1975 when three-year-old Enamul Haque was admitted to the SOS Children’s Village together with his younger brother. “With his friendly and modest nature he soon made friends in the SOS Children’s Village and easily settled down in his new surroundings. I can still clearly see the room in which Enamul lived when he was a youth: filled with books, hardly leaving any place to sleep. We were all very proud when he passed the admission exam to the public University Rajsahi: Every year between 4,000 and 6,000 candidates apply, but only 40 of them are finally admitted.” Due to the surplus of doctors he then worked in various hospitals without getting paid. In order to improve his situation he applied for further studies and in 1999 he was given the opportunity to do his “Master in Public Health” at Queensland University in Australia. After coming back he started working as a medical research advisor at the Damien Foundation. The Damien Foundation, a Belgian relief organisation, concentrates on fighting leprosy and tuberculosis. The service of the organisation, ranging from medical treatment to financial support, is free of cost and is mainly meant to help the rural population.