On September 22, in a special ceremony, the Civic Alliance-Latvia in cooperation with the US Embassy in Latvia awarded four winners of the 2022 Human Development Award. It was honoring of people and organizations who have contributed to the well-being of society through their selfless work, and who are support for others in difficult life situations. They received many thanks from organizers and supporters of the Award - from Kristīne Zonberga, Director of the Civic Alliance-Latvia, John L. Carwile, Ambassador of the United States, and Hamid Ladjevardi, a member of the Award competition jury.
As every year, at the ceremony the laureates received the sculpture "Sprout" created by the sculptor Olga Šilova, which is a stylized figure of a young woman, symbolizing a sprout awakened by the spring sun – fragile, but at the same time full of energy, reaching up towards the sun. The sprout also embodies the idea that big changes can start small. In her speech, K. Zonberga said: "This year, the sprout is also personally connected to the campaign for Ukraine's support, "Sunflowers for a United Europe together with Ukraine", within the framework of which we invited people to sow sunflowers, cherish the sprouts and look forward to a better future together. In May, right here on the AB dambis, near the big flag of Latvia, there was a creation of sunflower beds, where everyone could plant the sprout they had chosen. This was the reason why we chose to hold the ceremony here this year - near sunflowers and always with support in our hearts and deeds for Ukraine."
The Ambassador of the United States in Latvia John L. Carwile in his speech said that "The U.S. Embassy is honored to support this important initiative. We have supported the Human Development Awards for eight years – but this year’s Human Development Awards are special, because this year we also celebrate one hundred years of U.S.-Latvian diplomatic relations – a century of shared commitment to democracy, liberty, and sovereignty."
The award for social responsibility and philanthropy was given to the social enterprise "Visi var!", which was founded in 2018 with the aim of promoting the employment of persons with disabilities, their relatives and socially disadvantaged groups. The profit from the income is invested in the implementation of charity projects and social support, the creation of new jobs and the purchase of necessary equipment. The enterprise is a place where many people, especially those who acquired a disability during their lifetime, understood how to accept the new situation, found new activities and passions not only at the hobby level, but also learned a new profession.
The award for outstanding contribution to education was given to Iveta Pokromoviča, who is active in the non-governmental sector as a volunteer. She is the chairman of the board of the association
and the association
"Express Yourself", as well as a board member of the Salaspils businessmen's association. Iveta has been working with young people for about 20 years to promote their non-formal education. Together with like-minded people, Iveta founded the youth association Express Yourself (2013), where she works as a volunteer. Young people have the opportunity to learn various skills and abilities through informal training methods, to do volunteer work. Iveta is like a mentor, like an older friend whom young people like to trust.
The award for outstanding contribution to health was given to Baiba Ziemele, who is actively involved in defending the interests of patients in Latvia and internationally. She has been leading the Latvian Hemophilia Association for many years, as well as the Latvian Alliance of Rare Diseases, and in 2018 she established a network of Patient Organizations in Latvia. Baiba is also the voice of patients in the Health Sector Strategic Council of the Ministry of Health and represents the interests of the non-governmental sector in the NGO/Cabinet of Ministers Cooperation Memorandum Council.
The award for contribution to the future of Latvia was given to Rojs Puķe. At the age of thirteen, Rojs started his first charity campaign to help little Markus and for these activities received the title "Pride of Latvia". But Rojs did not stop and continues to create social projects to help children with special needs. Rojs is also involved in helping refugees from the war in Ukraine. Rojs has created a group of like-minded people whose main goal is to give refugee families confidence that they are welcome here and organize events of various scales for these families, in which he, as a culinary blogger, cooks and teaches children how to cook. Rojs has created two projects that are still running successfully today! "Good bag" and "Good bread". Rojs created these projects, which are not only self-sustaining, but also earn money to help children with special needs.
The winners of the prize received Diploma and a prize - a stylized sculpture "Sprout".
The social enterprise "Visi var!" also received a special award from the jury member Hamid Ladjevardi for their work.The "Human Development Award" is an award competition launched in 2014 and organized by the Civic Alliance-Latvia in cooperation with the US Embassy in Latvia.
The event was financially supported by the Society Integration Fund from Latvia's state budget funds allocated by the Ministry of Culture, as well as long-time sponsor of the competition Hamid Ladjevardi.