Taiwanese vegetable vendor among Asia's Nobel winners


(Reuters) - A Taiwanese vegetable vendor, who has personally given away over 7 million Taiwanese dollars ($231,800) to several charities for children, was among six winners of Asia's equivalent of the Nobel prize this year, its foundation said on Thursday.

The Manila-based Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation named Chen Shu-chu as one of six winners, citing her for "personal giving, which reflects a deep, consistent, quiet compassion, and has transformed the lives of the numerous Taiwanese she has helped".

From her daily earnings as a vegetable vendor, Chen, who reached only the sixth grade and sleeps on the floor, was able to help build library and feed and shelter children-at-risk as well as families displaced by disasters.

"Money serves its purpose only when it is used for those who need it," she said. "I feel happy whenever I could help other people."

The awards also honored Filipino Romulo Davide, who helped farmers fight pest infestation on rice, bananas and other crops; Indian Kulandei Francis, head of a village self-help group; Syeda Rizwana Hasan, an environmental lawyer from Bangladesh; Cambodian agronomist Yang Saing Koma who helps farmers' improve rice production; and Indonesian Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto who is fighting to stop illegal logging.

The winners will receive a prize of $50,000 with a ceremony set for late August.

"The Magsaysay awardees of 2012 are six remarkable individuals, all deeply involved in creating sustainable solutions to poverty and its accompanying disempowerment -- whether in the forests or on farmlands, in exploitative industries or in inadequate education," Carmencita Abella, foundation president, said in a statement.

The awards, named for a popular president of the Philippines who was killed in a plane crash, were set up in 1957 by the trustees of the New York-based Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Nearly 300 people and groups, including the U.S. Peace Corps and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, have been recognized since 1958.

($1 = 30.1955 Taiwan dollars)

(Reporting By Manuel Mogato; Editing by Ed Lane)

Article Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/26/us-philippines-award-idUSBRE86P0C020120726

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