The annual Jean-Pierre Tchang Award was created in 2009 to highlight the exceptional contribution of a volunteer to the IRIS Mundial mission. The 2023 award has been given to Dr. Marie-France Duguay, optometrist, and a volunteer for IRIS Mundial since 2016. The award was presented to her during the annual meeting of IRIS Mundial volunteers. Several people made moving speeches about her at the event.
Across different landscapes, retracing different moments of their friendship and of Marie-France’s life, her great friend of over 40 years, Dr. Marie-Chantal Hudon, paid her a video tribute. Always the first to take up challenges and innovate, very committed in Canada and elsewhere, convinced, and convincing, Marie-France successfully advocated with ophthalmologists on a mission to operate on a little Senegalese girl suffering from congenital cataracts. “Marie-France’s brain is so fertile. She combines the talents of an analytical scientist with those of an artist, author of stories and poems,” said an admiring Marie-Chantal, concluding that Marie-France is “a reliable and faithful friend, a precious partner in all the projects we have shared.” “Marie-France is a hardworking, a sensitive and generous volunteer as well as a respectful and endearing woman.”

Another of her companions, Mihaela Mara-Somogyi, was very honoured to give a speech for Marie-France because there is so much to say about this her. “We are in the presence of a woman who shines with her lively spirit, her professionalism, her good humour and her generosity.” Miha has always been impressed by the quality (and quantity!) of her work, her commitment, and her high standards. Marie-France was an excellent mentor for all the people who passed through her hands.

Marie-France has completed 2 missions with IRIS Mundial, in Haiti and in Senegal. In addition to the missions, Marie-France is involved at different levels within the organization, mainly as a trainer and internship guide. Having had to cancel several missions due to political and health events, Marie-France valiantly provided training and remote mentoring to the nurses of the PPLC Saint-Louis. She will also fly to a mission in Senegal in November to carry out a technical monitoring. Marie-France is an extremely dedicated volunteer who takes her files very seriously and meticulously prepares the team members and interns she accompanies. With immense generosity and a talent for writing, Marie-France has published a children’s story for the benefit of two charities, including IRIS Mundial!
Thank you, Marie-France, for your dedication!