On April 24, 2020, our dear friend and Congolese partner Sister Angélique Namaika was named as an Aurora Humanitarian and one of four finalists for the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity during an online discussion hosted by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. As an Aurora Humanitarian, Sister Angélique is recognized and celebrated as a hero for her work to support thousands of Congolese women and children impacted by conflict.
Founded in 2015 on behalf of survivors of the Armenian Genocide, the Aurora Humanitarian Intiative exists to transform the Armenian experience into a global movement committed to inspiring people everywhere to care for and protect one another. As an expression of gratitude to those who came to the aid of the Armenian people a century ago, the Initiative seeks to recognize and empower modern heroes through the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity. In the words of Lord Ara Darzi, Chair of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, “Aurora is about building a broader humanitarian movement and maintaining a cycle of giving and is focused on gratitude in action… [we are] bringing people together, remembering the kindness of humanity and celebrating the work of these heroes.”
The official announcement of the four Aurora Prize finalists was held on Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, April 24th; a day when the world remembers and honors the victims and survivors of what has been recognized as one of the worst mass atrocities of the 20th century.
We are so grateful for the opportunity to celebrate our friend, Sister Angélique, along with the members of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative. For the past eight years she has inspired us with her tireless and unceasing efforts to care for the most vulnerable members of her own community. She has dedicated her life to caring and advocating for those affected by violence in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), providing a home and education for children displaced and orphaned by conflict and those returning from armed group captivity, by equipping women with tools and training to provide for their families, and so much more. In the last decade, Sister Angelique has become a surrogate mother to thousands of children and provided support to more than 22,000 women.
Invisible Children first met Sister Angelique in 2012 when our President and CEO, Lisa Dougan, had the privilege of accompanying her in Washington, D.C., New York, and across Europe, where she met with global leaders to advocate for the needs of women and children throughout northeastern DRC affected by LRA violence. Since then, Sister Angelique has become a friend and inspiration to all of us and Invisible Children has continued to work arm-in-arm with her in support of DRC’s most vulnerable.
“I have witnessed first-hand Sister Angelique’s tireless efforts to care for women and children displaced and traumatized by violence. I have watched her speak truth to power, advocating for these women and children before world leaders and calling them to action with the moral authority held only by those who have chosen to live and suffer with the most vulnerable among us.”– Lisa Dougan, Invisible Children President and CEO
We are honored to work in partnership with such a fierce and compassionate hero who has changed the lives of thousands and continues to fight for the safety and wellbeing of her community every day. And we are deeply grateful to the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative for recognizing and celebrating Sister Angelique’s courage, and for all that they are doing to elevate and reinforce the efforts of other heroes like her.
The Aurora Humanitarian Initiative will announce this year’s winner of the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity in October. The winner will be awarded a financial gift and the unique and inspiring opportunity to continue the cycle of gratitude by supporting the heroes and organizations that inspire them.