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Humanitarian workers share Red Cross prize

The Swiss Red Cross has awarded its 2010 CRS prize for particularly praiseworthy humanitarian actions to two women working with children and mothers.

Nadine Burdet and Margrit Schenkel will share the SFr 30,000 ($27,400) given to them for their work in Haiti and Sudan respectively.

Burdet, a Haitian doctor who lives in Lausanne, has spent 17 years working on behalf of vulnerable children and teenagers, so called “restaveks”, who live in semi-slavery as domestic servants.

The shelter she has founded for them in the Haitian town of Port-au-Prince, offers protection, provides schooling and helps them to re-establish contact with their families as well as preparing them for adult life.

Schenkel, originally from Bonstetten in canton Zurich, is a nurse who has been working in Sudan since 1974. She has set up a paediatrics service, a midwifery training school and a feeding centre in the capital of the North Darfur region, and provides medical services in the surrounding areas, including refugee camps and prisons.

René Rhinow, president of the Swiss Red Cross, said the prize had gone to two women who, in “extremely difficult circumstances” were performing model humanitarian actions in favour of deprived people whose health and dignity was under threat.

The prize, set up and financed by a donor, is awarded every two years to long-term activities which follow the Red Cross principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and voluntary service. The money is designed to help expand the services already being offered.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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