MANILA, Philippines — Impact organization the HOPE Foundation recognized three Filipino individuals at its virtual HOPE Hero Awards for their efforts to uplift the lives of others using personal resources and creativity.
This year's HOPE Hero Awards were judged and presented by television host Boy Abunda, broadcast journalist Karen Davila, and documentary photographer Xyza Bacani.
Mission for Migrant Workers founder Cynthia Caridad Abdon-Tellez was named the HOPE Hero of the Year as her organization has provided essential services to around 30,000 foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong since its inaugruation in 1981.
98% of those workers are women from underdeveloped countries, and Abdon-Tellez's work has extended to addressing issues of underpayment, overwork, debt, discrimination, and physical and sexual abuse.
Similar grassroot organizations and unions have been created with her guidance, with Abdon-Tellez herself serving as a catalyst for empowerment where migrant women have become advocates and leaders for similar missions.
Named as runners-up were Yellow Boat of HOPE Foundation co-founder and president Anton Mari Lim and motivational speaker and socio-civic volunteer Zacarias Mansing.
Through his flagship project, Lim was able to donate 5,000 boats as safe transportation for children in remote areas to access education, leading to increased school attendance in the Zamboanga Peninsula.
The wheelchair-bound Mansing's, paralyzed from the chest down, "Books for Kids" initiatives has allowed children to develop a love for reading and elevated literacy levels in public schools, especially in remote areas of Negros Oriental.
"[Our HOPE Heroes] remind us that no act of kindness is too small, and no dream is too big," said HOPE chairperson Nanette Medved-Po. "These stories will hopefully inspire us to dig a little deeper to find out own best selves — to find the better angels in our natures."
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