On December 10th, the Nobel Committee will award Dr. Denis Mukwege the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. To honor this iconic fistula surgeon, Fistula Foundation will be dedicating all #GivingTuesday donations to Dr. Mukwege and his work in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
I have been privileged to know Dr. Mukwege for nearly a decade. When Fistula Foundation, which I lead, adopted a global mission in 2009, he was our very first partner. Dr. Mukwege is a quietly devout man and the son of a Pentecostal minister. At our first meeting, he told me that he wanted to do with his hands what he felt that his father had done with his words: make the world a better place. And he truly has.
His 400-bed Panzi Hospital is a beacon of healing and hope to women who have been traumatized by decades of war. It has been said that the Democratic Republic of Congo is the worst place in the world to be a woman, and if you hear Dr. Mukwege share stories of women and young girls whose bodies have been literally torn apart by sexual violence, you will know this is true. He and his staff work day and night to heal these too often powerless victims, body and soul.
What Dr. Mukwege does is important, and dangerous. He is a global force, using his voice beyond the walls of Panzi Hospital to speak on the world stage to denounce the crimes of armed groups that have operated in DRC for more than two decades. He has been targeted by assassins who took his daughter and wife captive. Yet, this remarkable man and champion of women perseveres.
Every day, he serves as my North Star. His portrait has hung on the wall next to my desk for nearly as long as I’ve known him. In a white doctor’s coat and a lapel pin that says: “Do not stand idly by,” he reminds me every day of the sacrifices he’s made to give the voiceless a voice and to return their health and their hope.
In this age, and at this time, the Nobel Committee could not have selected a more deserving, more inspiring recipient. I could not be more proud to call him a partner and a friend.
Take Action Challenge
- DONATE to support Dr. Mukwege’s vital work in the DRC
- SIGN the online card to congratulate Dr. Mukwege on his Nobel Peace Prize
- SHARE on social media and encourage your friends to give on #GivingTuesday (November 27th)
Header photo credit: Dr. Lawrence William, 2010