Press Releases

2006 REFLECTIONS OF HOPE AWARD RECIPIENT NAMED

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum will honor the humanitarian efforts of Durga Ghimire, co-founder of Tamakoshi Service Society (TSS), a community-based organization improving the lives of marginalized people in Ramechhap, Nepal, as the recipient of the 2006 Reflections of Hope Award. The award, established in 2005 as part of the 10th anniversary commemoration of the Oklahoma City Bombing, honors a living person or group whose extraordinary work has significantly impacted a community, state or nation. It also exemplifies that hope not only survives but also thrives in the wake of political violence.

Ghimire will be honored at a reception and dinner on April 19, 2006, at the Meinders Hall of Mirrors, Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City. This prestigious international award also includes a $25,000 honorarium. In addition, Ghimire will partner with the Memorial & Museum in its education and outreach programs in the coming year.
“It is truly an honor for us to recognize Durga for the amazing work she does to provide hope and empowerment to families in her part of the world,” said Kari Watkins, Oklahoma City National Memorial Executive Director. “Her work exemplifies the hope that comes in the wake of adversity and the life-changing effect it can have on a community.”
In the midst of civil war in Nepal, where widespread intimidation, coercion and human rights abuses are prevalent, Ghimire and her husband Jagdish grew this voluntary grassroots organization to over 6,000 members in 40 villages, providing basic services in preventative and reproductive health care, sustainable agriculture, water supply and income generation through rural micro-enterprise. With no government aid, and with the help of only a few external agencies including World Neighbors, TSS is the only agency providing these essential services in the Maoist guerilla controlled areas of Ramechhap.

The Reflections of Hope Award was created by the Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation to recognize those who find and, by their actions, exemplify hope in the midst of tragedy, respond selflessly and give of themselves to improve the lives of others. The inaugural recipient was the Voice of Afghan Women Radio, Kabul’s first radio station managed by women, represented by Jamila Mujahid and Najiba Maram. Since winning the award, the women have continued their work in giving the women of Afghanistan a voice in their new democracy and are hard at work expanding their organization to include television broadcasts as well.

The 2006 selection committee included the following:
• Kim Henry, First Lady of Oklahoma, Honorary Chair
• Linda P. Lambert, Chair, Former Chair, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
• Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Supreme Court of the United States
• Barbara K. Bodine, Executive Director, The Middle East Governance Initiative, former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen
• Prudence Bushnell, former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya
• Oscar Castaneda, Area Program Director, Latin American Caribbean Program, Heifer International
• Dr. Arun Gandhi, International peace advocate
• Judge Robert Henry, United State Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit
• Dr. N. Scott Momaday, Pulitzer Prize winner, poet, author, artist
• Polly Nichols, Survivor, Former Chair, Oklahoma City National Memorial Foundation
• Anthony Shadid, Pulitzer Prize winner, Islamic Affairs Correspondent, Washington Post, author
• Jim Tolbert, bookseller, community volunteer
• Jane Vessels, Assistant Editor, National Geographic
• Kari Watkins, Executive Director, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

Tickets to the dinner are $168 per person, and can be reserved by calling Toni Clopton at 405.235.3313. The Reflections of Hope Award is made possible through the generous support of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum was created to honor “those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever” by the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The Memorial and Museum are dedicated to educating visitors about the impact of violence, informing about events surrounding the bombing, and inspiring hope and healing through lessons learned by those affected.
For more information on the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, call 888.542.HOPE or visit www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org.

To schedule an interview with Ghimire during the time she is in Oklahoma City in April, contact Nancy Coggins at 405.235.3313.
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