Taiwan’s vegetable vendor donates NT$15 million for safe childbirths – Focus Taiwan

Taipei, Aug. 28 (CNA) Philanthropic vegetable vendor Chen Shu-chu (陳樹菊) donated NT$15 million (US$537,634) to eastern Taiwan’s Taitung County Government on Saturday to set up a fund to provide financial assistance to pregnant women in need of support so that they can give birth safely.

The fund aims to give financial aid to women who need antenatal examinations but cannot afford hospital care, and will also be used to help support children who lose their mothers during childbirth until they turn 12 years old, the county authorities said.

Chen Shu-lan (陳淑蘭), head of Taitung’s Department of Social Welfare, told reporters that Chen, who retired in early 2018, has donated a life insurance policy valued at NT$15 million to set up the fund.

The official said Chen, who is in her 70s and had sold vegetables in her family’s stall at a market for more than half a century, wanted to use money to memorialize her mother who died during childbirth when Chen was in elementary school. Her family was poor at the time and couldn’t afford hospital care for her mother.

The Taitung County Government expressed gratitude to Chen for the donation, saying the fund is expected to lower risks during childbirth and enhance women’s welfare, while also providing scholarships to children who lose their mothers during birth.

In the donation ceremony, Chen said she sold vegetables and earned her savings in Taitung for more than five decades before retiring, so it was natural that she would do something to help Taitung in return.

“The best way to live a life is to complete what I want to do,” Chen said. “As I’m grateful to my mother for giving birth to me but regret that she lost her life while in labor, I just want to help pregnant mothers who need financial support to make sure they have a safe labor.”

Chen said she has long had the wish to set up such a fund under her mother’s name — Chen Lan A-sun (陳籃阿笋).

“I spent 59 years waiting for the wish to come true today,” Chen said.

The donation made on Saturday was simply the latest of Chen’s growing list of philanthropic moves.

Chen had previously donated two life insurance policies worth NT$16 million to Taitung MacKay Memorial Hospital and Taitung Christian Hospital in 2018 to set up two separate funds to treat cancer patients and provide the poor with proper medical care.

The two donations in 2018 were made during a flag raising ceremony held by Taitung County government to celebrate Double Ten National Day.

When she retired in 2018, Chen said she had a home and some savings, which would be enough for her to support herself for the rest of her life, adding she was determined to continue providing as much help as she could to others.

Due to her generosity, Chen was named one of six winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2012 for helping the poor, receiving a US$50,000 cash prize, which she donated to Taitung MacKay Memorial Hospital.

She was also honored as one of the 100 most influential people by Time Magazine in 2010 for contributing over NT$10 million to different charitable causes, including a donation to build a library for Ren-Ai Elementary School, her alma mater, and another donation to sponsor poor kids.

In the same year, she was also named one of 48 heroes of philanthropy by Forbes Asia.

(By Tyson Lu and Frances Huang)

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