The fourth annual Volvo for Life awards were announced and the 2006 grand prize winner is Dr. Ingida Asfaw of Pontiac, Michigan. Asfaw is a medical doctor who has galvanized over 550 medical and non-health professionals in the U.S. and Canada to give their time and talents to address the profound health care crises in Ethiopia. With donations of money and time, he founded the nonprofit Ethiopian North American Health Professionals Association (ENAHPA). His prize, awarded on April 12, is a new car from Volvo for the rest of his life. One hundred semifinalists were also chosen from more than 4,000 nominations.
A humble man but a brilliant surgeon, Dr. Asfaw has led volunteers from the health profession into Ethiopia on semi-annual medical missions since 1999.
During the May 2005 mission, the delegation performed nearly 100 surgical procedures; conducted advanced training for 250 Ethiopian health care professionals; donated 32,400 books; and provided lifesaving medical equipment, instruments, and supplies to several specialized hospitals, three universities, and a leprosy research training center.
Dr. Ingida Asfaw embodies the American dream of the impoverished immigrant who achieves extraordinary success and skill in their adopted land. But he also has educated a generation of health care professionals back in his native country and inspired others to reach beyond borders to bring hope to those in desperate need.
ENAHPA serves 1700 adults and children living with HIV/AIDS by providing free anti-retroviral treatment and soon will include 8,000 more. The group supports orphans and maternity wards (with donations of sterile maternity kits) and is building a new Maternal and Child Health Care Center in the city of Awassa.
In 1958, at the age of sixteen, Asfaw traveled two weeks from Ethiopia to America aboard a cargo ship, arriving with little money, but a big dream: to become a doctor and return to Ethiopia with healing hands. He has achieved his dream against extraordinary odds, always returning to his homeland to tend the needs of so many of its impoverished and suffering citizens.
Ethiopia is the land of beautiful faces. Get involved with the many projects at ENAHPA to help an orphan, save a baby, or help extend the life of someone with HIV/AIDS.
Read the Good News Network report featuring the 2005 Volvo Hometown Hero, Hope Bevilhymer, from Utah, who helps people in developing countries to receive prosthetic limbs. The Limbs of Hope Foundation was born out of the difficulties in her own life raising money to buy a prosthetic limb when it was not covered by insurance.
Volvo invites you to nominate your hero for 2008. They could win a Volvo for Life.