Today United States Ambassador Matthew Harrington had the honor of presenting Sister Juliana Manele of the St. Camillus Centre in Mohale’s Hoek with the 2016 Woman of Courage Award for Lesotho. Sister Juliana received this award in recognition of her exceptional courage and leadership in the fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Lesotho. Since 2002, she has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Basotho people affected by HIV/AIDS, especially those in rural communities with little access to healthcare.
President Barack Obama has said that “service is…a lifelong commitment” and that “we all can give back to our communities.” Sister Juliana is the embodiment of those words as she has spent her life working in her community to improve the lives of those around her.
Fourteen years ago, Sister Juliana established the St. Camillus Centre, to provide care, education, and medical supplies to people with HIV/AIDS in more than 50 often-remote villages. She accomplished this by building a support network of more than 150 caregivers. By 2011, the caregiver program grew enough to allow Sister Juliana to focus on children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The Centre began offering food, clothing, and educational subsidies for children living with foster families. The Centre also established an orphanage for the most vulnerable children in a 2-room building which they quickly outgrew. In 2014 Sister Juliana raised funds for a new orphanage for up to 24 resident children. She also recently raised funds to expand the Centre’s garden into a small commercial farm that will provide sustainable income for the Centre and jobs for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Ambassador Harrington said during the ceremony, “We know that it takes an extraordinary leader, someone who inspires and motivates those around her, to make projects like this one work well. The world needs more people like Sister Juliana Manele, people who build their communities by helping others. She is a role model for us all and a true Woman of Courage.”
Since 2007, the United States Government has honored women around the globe who have exemplified exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for human rights, women’s equality, and social progress.
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