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Everywhere in the world, we can observe and be touched by acts of kindness. People from all walks of life, faiths, and cultures extend themselves beyond the call of duty to help others unconditionally. Through their noble deeds, humanity as a whole is elevated.

To commend virtuous actions and encourage more people to be inspired by their examples, Supreme Master Ching Hai has lovingly created a series of awards, including the Shining World Leadership Award, Shining World Compassion Award, Shining World Hero and Heroine Awards, Shining World Honesty Award, Shining World Protection Award, Shining World Intelligence Award, and Shining World Inventor Award, to recognize some of the most exemplary, generous, caring, and courageous people who walk amongst us.

Dr. Ian Clarke wears many hats, as a physician, entrepreneur, philanthropist, adoptive father, mentor, and the first Caucasian mayor in Uganda. He is the founder and chairman of the International Medical Group, the leading provider of private medical services in Uganda.

Dr. Clarke(m): My name is Dr. Ian Clarke. I’m an Irish Ugandan, born in Ireland, naturalized Ugandan citizen and I have lived in Uganda with my wife and family here for over 20 years. I first came to Uganda in 1987. I have been working as a family doctor in Northern Ireland. As a doctor, I felt that really I want to be offering services where they were needed, and we had a strong Christian faith, and we wanted to practice our faith in terms of meeting humanitarian needs.

We came to Uganda just after there had been a war. We went to a place called the Luweero Triangle, where there had been a lot of massacres, and there was tremendous need; and also when Uganda was at the beginning of the HIV epidemic. People were dying of HIV and of TB (tuberculosis). So, I came with the idea that we would do rural health care and just primary care, but we quickly found that it was necessary to have a health facility.

And so, we appealed to friends and churches and charities just to send some money, and we built a small clinic. And the small clinic grew until it was a fully-fledged hospital. So, we were offering services to the rural poor there, and we worked there for about six years.

HOST: In the aftermath of the civil war, Dr. Clarke and his wife Roberta filled a severe need for health care by establishing Kiwoko Hospital. It still serves the community in rural central Uganda. Dr. Clarke originally intended to stay in Uganda for a two-year mission. But feeling at home among the friendly Ugandan people, he instead launched an amazing enterprise over the next two decades.

Dr. Clarke(m): We came to live in the city, in the capital city, in Kampala, and started another hospital, which is an international hospital. That’s a private hospital, it’s not funded by donations. It’s funded by what people pay.

HOST: At International Hospital Kampala, Uganda’s leading private hospital, the income from the middle class patients is used to help cover the treatments for the less fortunate. Here, every day, lives are saved and the standard of health is raised.

Dr. Helena Nam(f): My name is Dr. Helena Mam, I’m a consultant oncologist or cancer specialist, trained in London (UK). But I have had the privilege of working in Uganda since 2006, mainly working for Hope Ward in the International Hospital, which is a charity ward. And it’s free-of-charge sponsored treatment for those who are really vulnerable in society, for people who are struggling with one meal a day, or even you find children who have been brought in from the bush, who have been left abandoned, people from the IDP (internally displaced people) camps, orphans, widows… There is a huge section of Ugandan society which really have no hope, and here the hospital is about trying to give hope to those patients who really need it the most.

Translator (m): She was brought here by a person who recommended to her and gave her some advice that at International Hospital Kampala, there is a free treatment of cancer.

The operation was done successfully, by the administration of Hope Ward, plus all the care and everything that was used for her, at a free cost.

So, she is very grateful and thankful of Hope Ward, that if at all it wasn’t Hope Ward at Kampala International Hospital, really, she doesn’t know how her life would have been.

Dr. Helena Nam(f): Wilson first came to International Hospital Kampala in October 2010, and when I looked at him, this little boy was like a skeleton. Now, his mother had passed away and the father had run away. By the time they found little Wilson, he was starving; he couldn’t move. He had wounds all over the skin, he had bed sores, his hair had gone, he couldn’t see. So, they brought him to International Hospital to Hope Ward, where Ian Clarke accepted him for compassionate sponsored care.

Now, many months later, you can see this little boy now has learnt to sit, with the help of intensive physiotherapy. His skin has come back. He’s now able to see with the help of glasses. His hair has come back. He has had several operations to raise contractors of his tendons which allow his feet to be in the right position. And really, this little boy now has hope. Also with the help of his carer Annette, who is a relative, an auntie, who came to his help. And we have had several patients just like this now, who now have a hope and a future of life ahead. Oh sweetie… Oh he’s not going to let go today. Some days you’re okay, other days you’re just…

Dr. Clarke(m): We’re using the good facilities that we have in International Hospital to make those available to people who have got really desperate but complicated conditions. What we want to show is that even though this may be a resource-poor country, it doesn’t mean that it has to be sub-standard. And it can be very good, hygienic, nice conditions. It can be with compassion from the nurses. And it can be the best of medical care as well.

HOST: Dr. Clarke has the caring heart of a doctor plus the vast vision of an entrepreneur. Apart from the International Hospital Kampala, the International Medical Group also includes the International Air Ambulance, International Medical Centre, International Medical Foundation which offers subsidies or free services to patients who cannot afford the fees, International Health Sciences University, and International Medical Group Construction. The growth has been simply astonishing since the first modest clinic was built in Kampala 15 years ago.

Catherine Kahare: I’m a student at International Health Sciences University. I’m a second year nursing student. It has been a wonderful school, the best I have ever seen in Uganda. The technology and everything educational and practical is the best I have seen in the country. And I believe that when I’m out of this school, I will be a better person than the way I came, and I will be able to help my community, to make it a better place to live.

HOST: Perhaps even more remarkable than his ambitious health endeavors is the fact that Dr. Clarke accomplished so much even while facing illness himself.

Dr. Clarke(m): I think I’m just stubborn. I think, yes, sometimes I have been forced out of my comfort zone, because for example, I have had cancer twice, and that definitely forces you out of your comfort zone. I had chemotherapy. It was very nauseating; it wasn’t pleasant at all. And those kinds of experiences, they make you evaluate your life. You know, what is my life about? Is it about not taking risk? Is it about just day-to-day humdrum, or what do I really believe in? And what do I want to do with my days? Each of us has a destiny, and it’s up to us to make sure that we realize the destiny.

Jemimah Kiboss-Kyeyone: One thing he talked to me about is always follow through; never just assume something has been done. And I see him do that. When he brings a patient and makes sure they’re on the bed, he comes to visit them and makes sure you’re treating them well. And this is not someone who will pay him back in any way. I think that’s inspiring. He could have built a big magnificent career in the UK, but he came to perform surgeries in Luweero. That is selfless, and I think that’s inspiring, and he believes that a difference can be made. And his compassion. He’s very compassionate.

HOST: In March 2011, Dr. Clarke won a landslide victory when the Ugandan people voted him to be mayor for Makindye, one of Kampala’s five city divisions. Within a few months of his election, roads were repaired and life was visibly improving, much to his co-citizens’ appreciation.

The Right Reverend D. Zac Niringiye (m): My name's David Zac Niringiye. I serve as bishop in the Church of Uganda. I have known Dr. Clarke for certainly more than 20 years now. I have visited Kiwoko, and seen what God did through this man in establishing an amazing hospital, which has now become suddenly a regional hospital in the area, and subsequently, in his establishing of the International Hospital Kampala, which began as the International Medical Centre. And then establishing an entire insurance system that supports that. I mean, simply amazing! And now, the Health Sciences University. And now, he’s a mayor! A passion really to be able to bring help and hope for the poor. So, he is a man who had been passionate and is settling down so much in this country, focusing on the entire health of the people.

HOST: For his selfless dedication to his Ugandan co-citizens, Supreme Master Ching Hai honored Dr. Ian Clarke with the Shining World Compassion Award, along with US$30,000 to humbly support his noble endeavor, with her heartfelt salute and gratitude.

Dr. Clarke (m): I must say that I was really quite shocked that this Lady, who doesn’t know me… First thing was, how did someone from the other side of the world find out about me, and then how did that person then decide to give me not only an award, but also this substantial donation of US$30,000? So, I’m very touched. I mean, after I got over the shock, and the next thing you say is, “Is it real?” And then, “It is real.”

So I’m very touched and I wish Supreme Master Ching Hai every blessing in terms of what she does, in terms of touching people’s lives and touching the world. The encouragement of somebody saying, “We want to affirm what you’re doing.” Because the affirmation has come, not just in the health side but also in the involvement as a civic leader, to do something there. And so, I’m very, very grateful and very touched.

HOST: Tune in next Saturday, December 10 as this 2-part program continues, with the presentation of the Shining World Compassion Award to Dr. Ian Clarke, plus more about his inspiring endeavors as an entrepreneur and leader in the Ugandan community.

Thank you for your kind company today. Coming up next is Words of Wisdom, after Noteworthy News, on Supreme Master Television. May you be blessed with health and happiness.