Former Priest wins Ramon Magsaysay Award
Kulandei Francis, Former Indian Priest, who left priesthood to devote himself to social work, was one of six Ramon Magsaysay awardees for 2012. He is being recognised for "his visionary zeal, his profound faith in community energies, and his sustained programmes in pursuing the holistic economic empowerment of thousands of women and their families in rural India," said a statement from the Magsaysay Foundation.
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Kulandei Francis, Former Priest
A veteran social worker, Francis joined the Holy Cross Society in 1970-71 to become a priest. During the seminary he was involved in relief work, operated by Caritas India. It was during an assignment as part of his theological study, he witnessed poverty and starvation of people in Sesurajapuram village. The experience goaded him to begin an NGO. His initiative has in fact helped thousands of women come out of poverty by helping them start micro enterprises and secure loans.
The other winners besides Francis include Chen Shu-Chu from Taiwan, Romulo Davide from the Philippines, Syeda Rizwana Hasan from Bangladesh, Yang Saing Koma from Cambodia and Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto from Indonesia. The winners will each receive a certificate, a medallion and a cash prize. Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia's highest honor and is widely regarded as the region's equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
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