Catholic missionary bags Sh113.8m for Sudan work


Dr Tom Catena receives the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity for life-saving work done in ...
Dr Tom Catena receives the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity for life-saving work done in South Sudan. PHOTO /COURTESY

Dr Tom Catena, a respected Catholic missionary from Amsterdam, New York in the USA has bagged Sh113.8 million after being selected as the 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate from more than 550 nominations submitted from 66 countries.

The catholic surgeon is credited with saving thousands of lives as the sole doctor permanently based in South Sudan’s war-ravaged Nuba Mountains.

Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, awarded by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian genocide and in gratitude to their saviors, was announced at a ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia.

US Academy Award-winning actor George Clooney, who is the Co-Chair of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, has commended the American doctor for his humanitarian work in South Sudan.

“As violence and war continue to threaten people’s spirits and perseverance, it is important to recognize, empower and celebrate people like Dr. Catena who are selflessly helping others to not only survive, but thrive. Dr. Catena is a role model to us all,” said Clooney.

In addition, Dr Catena, who has already donated Sh113.8 million prize money to the African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF) in the US, Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) in the US and Aktion Canchanabury in Germany, will receive a Sh10.3m grant and the chance to continue his charity work.

Dr Catena, known by locals in South Sudan as “Dr. Tom” has for the last nine years been on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the Mother of Mercy Catholic Hospital that cares for more than 750,000 citizens of Nuba amidst ongoing civil war between the Government of Sudan and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

It is estimated that he treats 500 patients a day and performs more than 1,000 operations annually.

“We all have an obligation to look after our brothers and sisters. It is possible that every single person can make a contribution, and to recognize that shared humanity can lead to a brighter future. I draw my inspiration from the Nuba people. And with my faith as my guide, I am honored to continue to serve the world and make it a better place,” Dr Catena opined on receiving the 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate.

“Dr Catena is an inspiration to anyone who has ever doubted humanity,” added Vartan Gregorian, co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative and a member of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee.

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