Six original stories about the lives and work of the 2012 Ramon Magsaysay Awardees have been released and now uploaded to the newly reformatted Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation website, www.rmaf.org.ph.
The feature stories are now available for viewing and sharing. They capture the spirit of awardees Chen Shu-Jiu, Romulo Davide, Kulandei Francis, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Yang Saing Koma, and Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto. Written by four of the Philippines’ distinguished writers, the stories distill the transformative and sustainable solutions each of them applied to address serious problems in their communities.
While the concerns and their work are divergent—from food security, to education, to environment in six different Asian countries—the stories are strung together by examples of greatness of spirit, the trademark of all Magsaysay laureates.
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“Chen Shu-jiu: Market vendor invests profits in good deeds” by Angelina Goloy starts the feature story thus: “Small change. That’s all she started with. At the end of each day, Chen Shu-jiu of Taitung, Taiwan, would set aside a portion of her modest earnings from selling vegetables. Over the years her small change amounted to a small fortune—seven million Taiwanese dollars (US$320,000). She has given it all away to those who those who need it more. “
“Empowering Farmers through Science,” Lito Viriña’s take on Romulo Davide’s story, opens with success stories of two farmers, Elnard Ymbal and Cirila Cuyacot. Viriña writes: “The ingenuity of [Ymbal and Cuyacot, are just two of the many inspiring stories that have come out from farming communities where the Farmer-Scientist Training Program (FSTP) is in operation. The FSTP, an agricultural research, development and extension (RDE) strategy that aims to bring science and scientific methods of farming to farmers is the brainchild of Academician Professor Dr. Romulo G. Davide, one of this year’s recipients of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award.”
In “Kulandei Francis: A Different Kind of Warrior,” Emelina Almario tells the story of how Kulandei’s earliest sad experiences have shaped his work. “Francis’ life of service is deeply rooted in two indelible memories. And while others may have responded to these defining events with bitterness and anger, Francis decided to live a life that would save others from what he experienced.”
“Syeda Rizwana Hasan: A Green Activist” by Almario paints a picture of a strong, intelligent woman and her activism. The feature article writes, “Syeda Rizwana Hasan makes it sound so simple, ‘I have always wanted to pursue a combination of legal practice, teaching, and social service for the protection of nature. In BELA, I found the platform to give expression to my ideas.’ BELA stands for Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, an advocacy group that monitors and pursues the implementation of laws and regulations to protect the environment. ”
Purita Calasanz Salas’ simply-titled “Yang Saing Koma” shows what a difference the awardees’ work gas made for his country: “Cambodia now has a roadmap to accelerating economic growth using agriculture as catalyst. Yang Saing Koma is prominent among the leaders spearheading the effort, with the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) and the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) as platform for a protocol to surmount the constraints of traditional agricultural methods and resources.”
In “Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto: Fighting the world’s worst environmental crimes,” Goloy writes a heart-pounding story that showed how committed the man known as Ruwi is to his work on environmental conservation: “The young man was badly injured, bleeding profusely from a head wound; he also had a black eye. ‘We can kill you anytime easily, and we wouldn’t have any problem,’ his torturers told him and his female companion. The scene is not from a TV crime series or a spy movie but the actual ordeal suffered by Indonesian environmental activist Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto at the hands of goons involved in illegal logging.”