George Clooney honours woman who saved thousands in Burundi civil war

George Clooney has honoured a Burundi woman who saved the lives of thousands of children. Credit: PA Wire

George Clooney has honoured a Burundi woman who saved the lives of 30,000 children during the country's civil war with a million dollar (£700,000) humanitarian prize.

Marguerite Barankitse, known as a "mother to all children" during the 1993 conflict was handed the inaugural Aurora Prize by the Hollywood star at a ceremony in Armenia.

The 59-year-old Tutsi woman saved thousands of orphaned Hutu childrenby sheltering them at the Catholic diocese where she worked.

She said she will use the grant, and the million dollar prize, to further her work in the region as violence erupts in Burundi once again.

"I am a very optimistic person and my dreams remain my dreams, when you have these values of compassion, nothing can stop you," she said.

George Clooney attends a memorial service for those killed in the 1915 conflict in Armenia. Credit: PA Wire

Clooney described Barankitse, known as Maggie, as extraordinary as he praised all of the finalist as people who "make the world a better place."

Earlier in the day, the actor attended a memorial service alongside the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to remember the events of 1915 - when Armenians say the Ottoman Empire killed 1.5 million of its people.

He called on the world to recognise the "Armenian genocide", a term modern-day Turkey strongly disputes.