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Asia's Nobel prize for Chennai's Kulandei Francis
Starting from a small village to 40 million dollars in saving, Kulandei Francis is a true example of a man who is born to lead. No wonder he is receiving the Asia's Nobel prize, the Magasaysay Award, which honours people for their good work and leadership qualities.

KNOWN AS Asia's Nobel prize, the prestigious Ramon Magasaysay Award is being bestowed on India's Kulandei Francis. He is one among the six to get the honour this year. According to a statement released by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, Francis is being honoured with the prestigious award for his visionary zeal, his profound faith in community energies and his sustained programmes in pursuing the holistic economic empowerment of thousands of women and their families in rural India. At a time when the nation is grappling with Guwahati-like public crime against women - the award to a man for the betterment of women is indeed a relief as people hope that good is prevailing and not all is lost.

Francis was born in a poor family from the Salem district of Tamil Nadu and was the only one of his siblings to earn a degree. It was in 1979 that the 66-year-old Francis Integrated Village Development Project (IVDP) in Tamil Nadu's Krishnagiri. He started out with night schools and also set up a first aid centre, reported the Zee News website. Starting from small initiatives he went to do other things that gave him the current honour.

He is also the man responsible for making 331 check dams in 22 years that benefited 60 cultivators as well their families. It was in 1989 that he began the Self Help Group of women and today the number has multiplied over the years to 8,200 groups with 153,990 members with a total savings of around USD 40 million.

The award celebrates the leadership quality of the third Philippine President of the same name and would also be given to five others who are Chen Shu-Chu from Taiwan, Romulo Davide, Philippines, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Bangladesh, Yang Saing Koma, Cambodia and Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto, Indonesia.

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