MANILA, Philippines – A female Afghan governor, a Burmese aid worker, a Filipino healthcare pioneer, a Nepalese anti-human trafficking organization, and an Indonesian anti-corruption agency are among this year’s Ramon Magsaysay Awardees.
Considered the Nobel Prize of Asia, the Ramon Magsaysay Award seeks to honor people or groups who change communities in the region for the better.
Rappler interviewed each of the 2013 awardees to learn about what motivates them to serve their respective communities.
55-year-old Habiba Sarabi, Afghanistan’s first and only female provincial governor, is a member of the minority Hazara group. She was recognized for promoting education and women’s rights despite working in an impoverished and war-torn environment.
Sarabi gets her motivation to serve from the people she is able to help.
“The things that I’m doing are for my people. I love the people. I love my country. My people deserve that I help them, that I work for them.”
Lahpai Seng Raw
Lahpai Seng Raw, 64, founded Myanmar’s largest civil society group which runs healthcare, agriculture and peace projects in Kachin state. She was selected for helping people across ethnic groups under conditions of armed conflict.
“The community has motivated me,” said Raw, “when you visit areas of conflict and you see people with no other choice. For me, giving people choices is very important.”
“My career was spent in a public hospital,” said 76-year-old doctor and medical researcher Ernesto Domingo who was honored for advancing greater access to healthcare in the Philippines. He was a key player in crafting the country’s universal healthcare (Kalusugang Pangkalahatan) program.
“Aside from being reminded at every turn that you have a responsibility to society, you actually see real examples [of] the life of the poor people.”
Shakti Samuha (Power Group)
The Nepalese group Shakti Samuha (Power Group), formed by survivors of human trafficking, was recognized for helping fellow victims by setting up halfway homes and emergency shelters.
Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (Corruption Eradication Commission)
Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (Corruption Eradication Commission) received praise for a 100% conviction rate in the 169 cases it fought between 2004 and 2010, during which it recovered more than $80 million in stolen Indonesian state assets and funds.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation was established in 1957, following the death of a well-loved Filipino President who died on a tragic plane crash and whose name the foundation bears. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com