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Two Indians among winners of Magsaysay Award 2011

July 27, 2011 21:03 IST

Nileema Mishra, who works with the poorest villagers in Maharashtra, and United States-trained Indian engineer Harish Hande, who revolutionised the use of solar lights, are among five people who have been honoured with this year's prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award.

"The two had helped to harness technologies to empower their countrymen and created waves of progressive change across Asia," award foundation president Carmencita T Abella announced.

Filipino charity group Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc, Hasanain Juaini, who set up an Islamic school for girls in Indonesia, his fellow countrywoman Tri Mumpuni, who promoted micro hydropower technology and Koul Panah, who working towards restoring democracy in Cambodia, are the other winners of the award, often described as 'Asia's Nobel prize'.

The winners will receive a certificate, a medallion and a cash prize in Manila on August 31. The award is named after the famous Philippine president who died in a plane crash in 1957.

Hande was recognised for bringing solar lights to a country where many households still have no power, the foundation said.

The 44-year-old runs his own solar electric light company that has lit up over 120,000 homes.

"His passionate and pragmatic effort to put solar power technology in the hands of the poor has encouraged them to become asset creators," the foundation said.

Mishra was recognised for "her purpose-driven zeal to work tirelessly with villagers in Maharashtra, to address both their aspirations and their adversities through collective action and heightened confidence".

Other notable Indians who have been honoured with the coveted award include Acharya Vinoba Bhave, Jayaprakash Narayan, Mother Teresa, Arun Shourie, T N Seshan and Kiran Bedi.

The award aims to honour people who address issues of human development in Asia with courage and creativity.

Each year, six people or organisations are named joint winners of the Magsaysay award.
"All of them are deeply involved in addressing issues that impact human progress, not only in their respective countries, but indeed in all of Asia. They are showing how commitment, competence and collaborative leadership can truly transform individual lives and galvanise community action," the foundation said.

Abella said, "The concerns they are working on are clearly quite diverse -- affordable electricity, political reform, inclusive education, economic empowerment, access to water. But there is one thing these Magsasyay laureates share: a greatness of spirit which infuses their leadership for change".

"They all build collaborations and seek consensus wherever possible. They all refuse to give up, despite adversity and opposition," he said.

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