The AidEx 2013 Humanitarian Hero award has been won by Dr. Jumana Odeh, Director and Founder of the Palestinian Happy Child Center, an NGO in Ramallah that protects and promotes the well-being of children with intellectual disabilities.
A highly regarded paediatrician, Dr. Odeh has provided comprehensive services to approximately 38,000 children and families in Palestine over the past 20 years. She recently persuaded the Palestinian Ministry of Health to launch a country-wide program for the early detection of childhood disorders, including autism.
Dr. Odeh said: “My work has been based on a quote from the Palestinian poet Tawfeeq Ziyad who said: I would give half of my life to someone, who makes a crying child smile. This award is just the beginning and I will continue to help children with intellectual disabilities around the world.”
In a tough contest Dr. Odeh beat stiff competition from Scott Beale, head and founder of Atlas Corps. Atlas Corps, Floris de Vos, Managing Director of Foundation ‘Holland Water Goes Africa’ and Tania Palmer, Co-Founder and Director of the Green Gecko Project.
Nicholas Rutherford said: “Humanitarian professionals need to have outstanding strength and determination – to act without hesitation and delay when their support is needed most. To devote all their life to humanitarian activities, a person often needs to show heroic qualities. That’s one of the main reasons behind the Humanitarian Hero award – to recognise and celebrate outstanding individuals from humanitarian and development aid community.”
About the Award
Now in its second year, The Humanitarian Hero award was launched to recognise and celebrate individuals from any area of the humanitarian and development aid community.