Published in Dawn
Wang Canfa is the other Chinese recipient. He founded the Centre for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims, which has offered free legal services to thousands of people and provided environmental law training to lawyers and others. Among other awardees were Indonesian anthropologist Saur Marlina Manurung, who set up a “Jungle School” programme for children of Indonesia’s Orang Rimba, or forest people; and Filipino teacher Randy Halasan, for serving the indigenous Matigsalug tribe. Omara Khan Masoudi of Afghanistan was awarded for his courage in protecting Afghan cultural heritage. At great risk to his life, the deputy director of the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul led his colleagues in moving some of the museum’s most precious objects to safety during the Taliban’s assault on the country’s cultural treasures in the 1990s. After Taliban rule ended in 2002, he returned to the museum as director and resurrected the hidden collection and negotiated the return of other treasures smuggled to foreign countries. The Citizen Foundation, a non-profit organisation in Pakistan founded by six business leaders, was recognised for building 1,000 schools over hundreds of cities and towns in the country with the world’s second highest number of children who are out of school. The awards are named after a popular Philippine president who died in a 1957 plane crash.
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