Chao Wen-cheng (centre) receiving a cake from officials of the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families.
Factory cleaner Chao Wen-cheng (趙文正) from Wurih Township (烏日), Greater Taichung, Taiwan, has been honoured by the US magazine Forbes as a ‘hero of philanthropy’. For more than 30 years the 68-year-old has been donating three-quarters of his modest monthly salary of NT$20,000 (less than US$700) to charity, since reading a newspaper article about child poverty. In total he has given around NT$4 million (US$133,600) to local orphanages, the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families, World Vision Taiwan and the Tzu Chi Foundation. He also helped the Greater Taichung’s Fire Bureau purchase a new fire engine this year. Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) wanted the world to know of these amazing philanthropic efforts, so nominated him for the award.
Having grown up in a low-income family, this generous ‘hero of philanthropy’ understands what it means to be poor. Still living today in a sparsely decorated old house with faded paint, he prefers to help others, rather than spend money on himself. He says it hurts him to see anyone suffering from poverty. When his children were younger he also collected cans and bottles in the evenings to provide them with a good education. All of the couple’s five children have now fled the nest, but the hard-working philanthropist has no plans to stop work. “I will never retire from my job, or from making donations to help people in need.”
His 64-year-old wife, Chao Hsieh Mei-yu (趙謝美玉), explains: “We don’t need a lot of money. My oldest child is 40 and one of them is a teacher. As long as my husband is happy, we can live a simple life and save more money to give to others.”
(Photo Credit: Yu Po-lin, Taipei Times)
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