2005 -- first media mentions
2010 - more media mentions, Forbes magazine, Time magazine
Local vendor makes Forbes philanthropist list, reported the United Dail News in March 2010
A 61-year-old vegetable vendor in Taitung City, eastern Taiwan, has been honored as one of this year’s “48 Heroes of Philanthropy” in the Asia-Pacific region by Forbes Asia.
Chen Shu-chu, who has donated nearly NT$10 million (US$312,305) to various charities and altruistic causes over the last 30 odd years, was selected for the annual list compiled by the magazine for the third straight year.
Upon hearing the news, the modest Chen played down her contribution to society, saying in a definitely understated manner that “I haven’t donated much money.”
Chen has by no means had an easy life herself. She had to drop out of school at the age of 13 to help her father support her four younger brothers and two little sisters by selling vegetables after her mother passed away.
Over the last few decades, Chen has donated most of her earnings from working tirelessly as a vegetable seller in Taitung’s Central Market. The charity organizations she has helped with generous contributions include the Fo Guang Shan monastery and the Kids Alive International orphanage.
She also donated NT$4.5 million several years ago toward the construction of a library at the Ren-Ai Elementary School that she once attended. In addition, Chen recently revealed to a friend that she plans to donate NT$10 million this year toward helping poor students in Taitung.
On March 7, Taitung County Magistrate Justin Huang sent officials to visit Chen on his behalf to convey his best regards regarding the honor bestowed by “Forbes.” During the visit, the officials pasted up a large red sign with the words “Honor of Taitung” as an expression of congratulations.
Speaking about the “Forbes” list, John Koppisch, associate editor of the magazine, said the names chosen “aren’t always the biggest givers. Instead, we aim to highlight a varied group of generous people…who deserve recognition.”
(This article originally appeared in the “United Daily News” March 7, 2010.)
DRESSED FOR SUCCESS
Taitung County Commissioner Justin Huang puts a specially-designed apron on vegetable vendor Chen Shu-chu upon her return to Taiwan early yesterday morning.
PHOTO: LIU HSIN-DE, TAIPEI TIMES