HOPE, an impact organization that invests 100% of its profits for the building of public school classrooms and environmental interventions, awarded three outstanding everyday heroes during the recent virtual HOPE Hero Awarding Ceremony.
HOPE Hero Awards is a recognition program that shines a spotlight on those who have dedicated time, resources, and creativity towards uplifting the lives of others, earning them well-deserved recognition for inspiring others to follow their footsteps to create meaningful and lasting change.
“The stories of our HOPE Heroes are of triumph over despair, of compassion in the face of cruelty, and of perseverance when the odds seem insurmountable. They remind us that no act of kindness is too small, and no dream is too big. These stories will hopefully inspire us to dig a little deeper to find our own best selves – to find the better angels in our natures – and to recognize the many everyday heroes that you may have in your lives each day,” said HOPE chairperson Nanette Medved-Po.
Cynthia Caridad Abdon-Tellez was named Hope Hero of the Year, the top award of the recognition program for establishing the Mission For Migrant Workers (MFMW) in 1981. Recognizing an urgent need, the mission has now provided essential services to approximately 30,000 foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong. It is through her advocacy that she has shed light on the challenges faced by these workers, 98% of whom are women from underdeveloped countries. Her work extends to addressing issues of underpayment, overwork, debt, discrimination, and even physical and sexual abuse.
Four decades of service later, Cynthia has become a catalyst for empowerment, allowing migrant women to rise above victimhood and become advocates and leaders themselves. Under her guidance, grassroots organizations and unions have flourished, creating a united front for asserting rights and advocating for change.
Runner up, Anton Mari Lim is the co-founder, president and CEO of the Yellow Boat of HOPE Foundation. As his flagship project, he was able to donate safe transportation in the form of 5,000 yellow boats, ensuring that children in remote areas can access education which has led to increased school attendance in the Zamboanga Peninsula.
Runner up, Zacarias Mansing is a wheelchair-bound PWD who embodies the spirit of a socio-civic volunteer and motivational speaker. Despite being paralyzed from the chest down, he continues to inspire others through his initiative “Books for Kids” that aims to be a catalyst for children to develop a love of reading and elevate literacy levels in public schools, especially in the remote areas of Negros Oriental.
The HOPE Hero Award is open to Filipinos who are delivering impact anywhere in the world AND individuals, regardless of nationality, impacting Filipinos.
Each candidate was deliberated by a panel of judges who reviewed and evaluated the submissions under the following criteria: Community impact and reach in which the initiative should have significantly improved the lives of the people in the community and have impacted a large audience; Consistency where the recipient should have demonstrated a consistent history of his/her work for not less than a year and in ongoing at the time of the awards; and Creativity where the recipient’s work must involve some degree of unconventionality, innovativeness and originality.