The Vincentian Family figured prominently in the awarding of over one millions dollars for systemic change projects. On November 8, 2007 Brother Constant Goetschalckx FC of the Brothers of Charity, an international community with deep roots in the Vincentian traditon was awarded one million dollars for his project with an education program that operates out of refugee camps in Tanzania.
Fr. Norberto Carcellar, CM received $100,000 as a runner-up for the prize with his work for the homeless in the Phillipines.
The prizes will be awarded by the Very Rev. David M. O’Connell CM, president of Catholic University. The money comes from the Opus Group, a Minnesota real estate firm that develops office and industrial parks, and will be awarded during a ceremony at the university.
Br Goetschalckx’s organization, Ahadi, was launched 10 years ago by “Brother Stan,” as he is known. Ahadi organizes high school classes and provides college-level tutors to 26,000 refugees living in camps in Tanzania.
Br Goetschalckx — a member of the Congregation of the Brothers of Charity, a Belgium-based religious order — has been working in Africa since the 1970s. He began Ahadi, which roughly translates to “promise” in Swahili, when hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing violence in neighboring Rwanda, Congo and Burundi began flooding into Tanzania.
“The classical system of education couldn’t keep up with the growing population,” Goetschalckx said yesterday.
He recruited educated volunteers from the camps to start high school classes and arranged for distance-learning classes for those working toward college degrees.
Ahadi’s staff members receive material from colleges via e-mail, he said. Printouts of the material are provided to teachers, who use it in classes aimed at helping refugeesThis is the fourth year for the prize. The Opus Prize Foundation partners with a different Catholic university each year to administer the award.