The Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations (NENO) has awarded the NGO prizes of 2013, with the Union of Blind Masseurs winning the top prize.
The Union of Blind Masseurs, formed on the initiative of people with visual disabilities 15 years ago, has changed society's perceptions of visually impaired people and has actively included them in the job market,uudised.err reported NENO saying on Monday.
NENO and Parliament Speaker Ene Ergma presented the awards today. The title of the NGO of the Year comes with a 5,000-euro award from the National Foundation of Civil Society.
Among other individuals and organizations honored, Jaan Aps received the mission award for his longtime work in increasing the influence of NGOs, and Vahur Tõnissoo was recognized for his efforts to find the best solutions for Rail Baltica in terms of planning and local communities.
The co-operation between the community of Paide, the city government, the Järva county government and volunteers to organize the Paide Opinion Festival was named Act of the Year. According to NENO, this kind of co-operation sets an example to other organizers of major events and ensures the continued existence of the festival.
The award for Public Authority of the Year went to the Tartu City Government for its "bold" experiment with participatory budgeting where voters decided at referendum how to spend 1 percent of the city's budget. The Entrepreneur of the Year is Reet Aus, who demonstrated how to successfully combine passion and social responsibility.
NENO has been giving awards to people and organizations that contribute to civil society since 1996. Nominations can be made by anyone, and winners are selected by NENO's supervisory board.