Chen Shu-chu

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Chen Shu-chu
Chen Shu-Chu.jpg
Chen Shu-Chu at 2010
Born Chen Shu chu
Taitung, Taiwan
Occupation vegetable vendor, philanthropist
Awards Ramon Magsaysay Award

Chen Shu-chu (Chinese: 陳樹菊; pinyin: Chén Shùjú; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tân Sū-kiok, born circa 1951) is a vegetable vendor and philanthropist from Taitung in southeastern Taiwan. She gives generously with her modest incomes. She said "Money serves its purpose only when it is used for those who need it and always be happy when she helped others." She was selected as one of the Time 100 for year 2010 in the Heroes category.[1] She is also one of the 48 heroes of Philanthropy by Forbes Asia.[2] Reader's Digest also honors her as the winner of 2010 Asian of the year.[3] In 2012, she also was selected as one of the Ramon Magsaysay Award winners[4]


Shu-chu Chen graduated from Jen-Ai elementary school at Taitung City, Taiwan. The household's living of eight people depended on her father as a vegetable vendor. Her mother died due to dystocia and the family could not afford TWD$5,000 for medical expenses. She decided to help her family's living working as a vegetable vendor. Her youngest brother got a serious flu in 1969 and unfortunately died in the same year even though he had donation from Jen-Ai elementary school for medical treatment. Shu-chu took over the burden of living and afforded her older brother to go to college, and she is still single as for now. Her second youngest brother, later, died from traffic accident. When looking back at the past, she has once hated her life for what have happened to her, so she devoted most of her time on working to escape from the darkness.

In the past, she thought the society was very cruel and ugly, but things had changed after she took refuge in Buddhism. With the power and support from the religion, she let go the past. After selling the vegetables for decades, she bought herself a small house, but she is still having a very simple life. Her daily spending is under TWD$100 which is equivalent $3 U.S. dollars.[5] As a Buddhist, she has been a vegetarian for a long time, and she makes every penny count. However, she always donates a lot of her deposit to those in need. After her father died in 1993, Shu-chu donated TWD$1 million to Fo Guang Buddhist Academy. In 1997, she donated TWD$1 million to her mother school, Jen-Ai elementary school, to help poor children afford their education.[6] Since she could not afford to go to school in her early age, she has the desire to help more children to receive better education. She then donated TWD$4.5 million to Jen-Ai elementary school to build its own library. In these ten years, Shu-chu adopted three abandoned kids at the Christian KidsAlive International Association,[7] and donates TWD$36,000 every year.

Banquet of the Time 100 for year 2010 in the Heroes[edit]

Shu-chu Chen did not want to participate in the banquet in the US hosted by Time at first, but the President of Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou called encouraging her to attend the event. President Ma let her know that the government would afford all the spending of this journey. Ma even asked the county magistrate of Taitung, Jian-ting Huang, to support her saying: "You should go to the U.S.A to claim your award and win honor for Taiwan." President Ma said to the press, "It was very touching to see the story of Chen, Shu-chu. All of Taiwan is proud of her, and she let the whole world know Taiwanese people have a big heart." She arrived at the U.S.A on 5/4/2012, participating in the banquet and claiming her award at the Time Warner Center, Manhattan, in New York City.

Ramon Magsaysay Award for year 2012[edit]

Ramon Magsaysay Award ceremony was taken place on 2012/8/31 at Philippine international convention center in Manila. On the day, more than a thousand people attended the event. The president of Philippine, Noynoy Aquino honored the awards to all the nominates. Aquino valued Shu-chu Chen's contribution on helping poor and sharing love. Shu-chu then donated this money award of $50,000 U.S. dollars to Mackay Memorial Hospital's Taitung branch.


"Chen, Shu-chu- Extraordinary Generosity" this book is the biography about Shu-chu Chen, and is written by free writer Yung-yi Liu. The writer spent about half year interviewing Shu-chu closely. When the book was published, many celebrity went to support the book launch party including the President Ma, the county magistrate of Taitung, and many scholoars. In the book, the writer describes Shu-chu's life as simple as only eating one meal a day.

"Too late to chase the dream"-When she was 20 years old, there was a fortune-teller told her she would have 3 boys after she get married. After she had money and bought the house, she made 3 rooms decorating as boys' rooms because having a sweet and warm family was her dream. She does not allow anyone to step in the rooms by saying "there are broken pieces of my dream." But, she has already overcame and gotten over these obstacles now. She find herself a lot of joy and happiness when helping others, and she is fulfilled in this sense.