Hermann Gmeiner Award 2018

Soaring High in the Sky: Conversation with winners of Hermann Gmeiner Award 2018 What does it mean to belong to a family? To have someone hug you tight and give you the strength to face the world.

To children, at SOS Children’s Villages, it means the world, helping them to find their feet. The two winners of the Hermann Gmeiner Award 2018, Dr. Muruga and Ms. Maria Anggelina, express much appreciation and gratitude to SOS Children’s Villages for giving them the wings to fly high! In a telephone interview Dr. Muruga and Ms. Maria Anggelina share their sentiments on winning the award.

Question 1: How do you feel about receiving the Hermann Gmeiner Award 2018?

Maria Anggelina: “I am very grateful to God Almighty, it's like a dream. I just hope and pray that the work I have been doing so far can help those who are less fortunate. I thank all those who have supported me, both in work and in winning this award. I am so proud to be a part of SOS Children's Villages.”

Dr. Muruga: “I feel honoured and humbled to receive this award. It is a big privilege and I am very happy. This award belongs to all my SOS brothers and sisters across the Federation. In fact, all the nominees for this award are a winner.”


Question 2: What is the most satisfying aspect of your work?

Maria Anggelina: I strongly believe in and live the Good Shepherd's Vision that "One Person is More Precious than the Whole World" (St. M. Euphrasia). This phrase has changed my life. I have become more passionate about my work and I strive to help those less fortunate than me, especially women and children. We work with several parties so that some children of trafficking victims can return to their homes safely.

Dr. Muruga: The best moment of my life came when I got an admission in the Lester B. College of Pacific in Vancouver, Canada. I was the first student ever to get into an international school. This was my first opportunity to travel outside the country. There, I met people from different parts of the world and got exposed to different cultures. I learned how to treat everyone as equal. At the school, I was encouraged to do community service that is how I got even more interested in giving back to the community. I did two community service projects, one for children with special needs and the other for People Living with HIV.


Question 3: What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

Maria Anggelina: Rescuing the victims of human trafficking is the most challenging part of my work because there are many perpetrators around us. Another challenge is about raising awareness of people about the rights of women and children.

Dr. Muruga: For me getting into the MBBS course to become a doctor was the most challenging for me. I had to work very hard to become a member of this noble profession. I never considered being a SOS child a challenge for me. In fact, I proudly tell people that I am from SOS and everyone accepts me for who I am.


Question 4: Can you share a success story?

Maria Anggelina: When I and other stakeholders saved a child-trafficking victim who ran away from her employer after being tortured. I took her away on a motorcycle to a safe place. I had to pass by her employer's house and the agent. We survived to fulfil the purpose. I am now trying to sensitise people to the rights of the child, and the response is very positive. Some of them have realised and reduced violence towards children and their exploitation for labor. Some are helping to fulfill the rights of the children.

Dr. Muruga: To me, this award is the biggest achievement. Its value is equal to the Nobel Prize for me. If I had not been in an SOS Children’s Village, my life would have been very different. I would not have reached this far. After being given this award, I feel very responsible and want to dedicate myself to working for people in need.