Stellenbosch, South Africa, December 2016
Health Promotion South Africa Trust honored by President Barack Obama.
President Barack Obama recently honored the Health Promotion South Africa Trust (HPSA) and its co-Founder and special advisor. In a personal statement from the White House addressed to Dr. h.c. Harold Robles, the President hailed the activities of the organization and the personal inset of all those involved.
The President continued: “As you reflect on your achievements over the last 45 years, I hope you take pride in the difference you have made in the lives of others. Congratulations on all you have accomplished. I wish you the very best in the years ahead as you continue working to forge an ever brighter tomorrow.”
Dr. Robles started his humanitarian work at 21 years of age, when he left Europe to start working at Lambarene, Gabon, West Africa, the hospital started by his revered mentor, Dr. Albert Schweitzer.
Former US Ambassador suggested special message from the White House.
In October, 2015, former US Ambassador Roger Gamble sent a letter to the White House, suggesting that President Obama issue “a special message, citation or Presidential award to a distinguished U.S. citizen who has spent most of his life (45 years) dedicated to the health and well-being of the people of Africa”. Gamble commented “I first became aware of Dr. Robles’ work when I was serving as US Ambassador to Suriname 20 years ago. And I have followed his distinguished career ever since.”
Health Promotion South Africa Trust Board (HPSA) and Management Moved.
The Trust, which Robles co-founded with Dr. Jelle Braaksma, former Chairman, Board of Director, Erasmus Medical School, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands has been the focus of his humanitarian work in recent years. Robles works tirelessly raising funds for the Trust, as well as helping the Trust’s Board and Management team with support and advice on public health issues. The Trust’s mission is to provide free, vital health education to the economically disadvantaged people of South Africa, thereby enabling them to prevent disease and death and promote good health.
Mrs. Malmsey Rangaka, Chairperson of the Health Promotion South Africa Trust Board was thrilled to inform the Board of Trustees and the Management team of this unexpected honour bestowed on Dr. Robles and the organization. She commented: “His work has been an inspiration to me for a while now, and I am so happy to be part of this growing organization”.
The Trust’s Management team, George Arrey, (Chief Executive Officer), and Elaine Harcombe (Program Development), on hearing of the citation, noted that they were “profoundly moved that our mentor and friend’s humanitarian work of a lifetime has been acknowledged by President Obama” They added that “ we are so grateful that the vision and dedication of Drs. Robles and Braaksma enables us and our teachers to empower many thousands of South Africans, each year, with the life-saving practices of good hygiene and healthy living”.
Dr. Robles commented: “I am deeply honoured by President Obama’s citation, by his commendation of my life’s work. So many lives are lost unnecessarily due to inadequate knowledge of simple hygiene and health promotion practices. It has been my mission and my joy all these years to help as many people as possible to learn of these simple practices.”