was conceptualised and founded by District Governor David Harilela 2011-2012, and is the first international humanitarian award launched by Rotary International District 3450 (RI D3450).
This award aims to find the unsung hero of today by accessing the powerful Rotary network of over 1.2 million people. As signified by the Rotary motto, Rotary’s main objective is service — in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world.
THE ONE award, will go to that special caring individual who truly puts Service Above Self – THE ONE who dedicates his life to helping those in need every single day.
THE ONE is someone who dedicates himself to the improvement of mankind, works for the highest standard of good, acts with compassion and kindness and can come from any part of the world, regardless of gender, race or ethnic background.
The winner will be awarded with prize money of US$100,000, donated by the award sponsor Richard Elman. The award money must be used to further the winner’s respective humanitarian-cause and service projects. The winner will also receive a custom-designed trophy kindly manufactured and sponsored by Baccarat.
Founder, Mr. David Harilela was inspired by the story of a German doctor, Hendrik Wuebben, whose story of generosity and compassion motivated David to create the award.
Hendrik studied medicine in Germany, qualifying as a General Practitioner, then as a General Surgeon. He is in his mid-thirties.
While he was working in South Africa, he was shocked to see that the hospital refused to treat patients because they did not have the proper insurance coverage. He watched helplessly as patients were turned away with life threatening illnesses. Discouraged, he resigned and sought work in Angola.
He was asked to join the United Nations Development Program, but disappointment struck yet again when he learnt of their policies. His work package would include a base salary of US$5,000-7,000 a month, all expenses paid, a new home and car, yet he was living in a country where people live on less than US$1 a day. What was most frustrating was that the UN had a shortage of funds to pay for medication, yet their doctors lived in relative luxury.
Hendrik went on to work in Windhoek, Namibia. The capital city has very high levels of poverty and unemployment, with many of the women involved in prostitution, and most men dealing in drugs or working on small labouring jobs in town. Hendrik felt that this was a place that needed help and began working with no pay, and is now the head of the emergency room. He has been assaulted and robbed a dozen times, often by the same patients he has treated. He has had knives and guns drawn at him and has been attacked by a hit man on the order of drug traffickers. But despite this, he works tirelessly, completely devoted to his cause.
It is our hope that with the development of THE ONE award, we can continue to recognise individuals of such selfless compassion.