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Habib Malik named wins Burns Humanitarian Award for aid work
One of Scotland’s most respected aid workers, with experience of emergency zones from Darfur to Bangladesh, was last night named the latest recipient of the Burns Humanitarian Award.
Habib Malik, Scotland area manager of Islamic Relief and a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which coordinates the response by British charities to emergencies overseas, was honoured for his efforts to help people in some of the poorest parts of the world.
As well as working to distribute aid at troublespots including Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami, northern Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake, Sudan, Niger and Somalia, he has helped to raise millions of pounds. At present he is involved in the DEC’s fundraising campaign for the victims of the Haiti earthquake.
Mr Malik said: “My work with Islamic Relief has never been for my sake, but for the sake of those voiceless millions around the world who scream but are not heard. Robert Burns himself was born into poverty and has been described as a poet of the poor, and an advocate for social change.”
Other nominees included Mark and Caroline Cook, from Wiltshire, founders of the housing charity Hopes and Homes for Children, and 11-year-old Zachary Bonner, from Florida, founder of the Little Red Wagon Foundation, which helps underprivileged children.
Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Culture Minister, said last night: “It is particularly poignant to present this award at a time when its recipient is heavily involved in the international effort to assist those experiencing intolerable suffering and human tragedy in Haiti. I congratulate Habib on winning this award and for his commitment to international relief work over many years.”
The Burns Humanitarian Award was established in 2002 to recognise groups and individuals that enriched the lives of others through their self-sacrifice, public service or charity work. The winner of the award receives 1759 guineas, a sum which signifies the year of Burns’s birth and the coinage then in circulation, as well as a specially commissioned hand-made award.
Previous recipients have included Clive Stafford Smith, the anti-death penalty campaigner; Sir John Sulston, the eminent biologist who helped to decode the human genome; Adi Roche, the peace campaigner and Chernobyl activist; and Guy Willoughby, the founder of the HALO Trust, the British landmine removal charity. Mr Willoughby joined the judging panel this year.
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