The founder of a Tanzanian organization that provides education to refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi was awarded the 2007 OPUS Prize at a ceremony at Catholic University on Nov. 8 of that year. The AHADI Institute (the name means “working toward the fulfillment of a promise” in Swahili) was founded by Brother Constant Goetshalckx. Known as Brother Stan, he is a member of the Brothers of Charity from Belgium. He said at the time, the prize is a “sign that God is continuing to go the journey with us.”
When the Opus Prize was awarded to Brother Stan, it was noted the institute provides secondary education for 1,000 students annually via a distance-learning program and instruction for 25,000 students per year studying for their high school diplomas. Brother Stan also created several community homes in Tanzania for orphans, the elderly, and people with disabilities who had lived in refugee camps. At the time of the award, Brother Stan was living in one of those homes with the people he serves.
Two other award finalists, Father John Adams, president of So Others Might Eat in D.C., and Vincentian Father Norberto Carcellar, executive director of the Homeless People’s Federation Philippines, each received an award of $100,000.
Anthony Buatti, a senior at the time, spoke at the dinner. He was part of the group that traveled to Tanzania as part of the selection process. Two other students, Tori Engelstad and Jonathon Meyer, also participated in site visits. Engelstad went to the Philippines. “After seeing what a lifetime of service can accomplish, I know that I want service to be more than a phase in my life. I want service to define my life,” said Engelstad, who was an architecture major.