- LAWRENCE and HORACE KADOORIE were the initiators and benefactors of an effective scheme of rehabilitation.
- The KADOORIE brothers consulted with Government and a venture in agricultural extension was decided upon for which they would provide financing and official agencies the technical knowledge and facilities.
- The RMAF board of trustees recognizes “their practical philanthropy working in partnership with Government and struggling cultivators to promote rural welfare in the Colony of Hong Kong.”
Seeking refuge in the Colony of Hong Kong following political change on the China mainland in 1949 were many farmers, farm laborers and older folk unable to compete in urban work. For them LAWRENCE and HORACE KADOORIE were the initiators and benefactors of an effective scheme of rehabilitation. These refugees were a special problem. They urgently needed capital or loan money to acquire land or stock which would enable them to make a living in the only way they knew, and the Colony needed more food.
The KADOORIE brothers consulted with Government and a venture in agricultural extension was decided upon for which they would provide financing and official agencies the technical knowledge and facilities. To this end, the Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Association was established in September 1951.
Since then, the KADOORIE brothers have contributed the equivalent of more than two million eight hundred thousand U.S. dollars to this experiment plus their own time and quiet encouragement. This provided the means for making productive some 75,000 rural families in the New Territories of the Colony of Hong Kong.
Assistance is distinctive in being practical, prompt and flexible, and in sufficient amounts to be effective. The Association began by giving new settlements of refugees enough stock to establish them as pig or chicken raisers and interest-free loans enabling them to erect their own simple sties and buy feed. Later loans permitted construction of small irrigation systems for growing vegetables. A second livestock plan was built around poor widows in the New Territories. Villagers have been helped to use modern agricultural aids. Cement and other construction materials were distributed for building access roads and other local public works. Almost every phase of farming in the Colony has benefited.
Jointly with Government, the brothers established, in August 1955, the Kadoorie Agricultural Aid (Loan) Fund, each party contributing an equal amount and Government later quadrupling its share. Interest-free loans are made for all productive farm purposes. With few exceptions borrowers have repaid on time and in full.
This cooperation has enabled government specialists to achieve an exceptional effectiveness in helping refugees and poor farmers in the Colony become self-supporting producers. The results are evident in a marked increase in food for the burgeoning population. Equally vital is the new sense of self-reliance among those rural families given the opportunity to stand on their own in the community.
In electing LAWRENCE and HORACE KADOORIE to receive the 1962 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service, the Board of Trustees recognizes their practical philanthropy working in partnership with Government and struggling cultivators to promote rural welfare in the Colony of Hong Kong.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award “in recognition of greatness of spirit shown in service to the people” will continue to be an inspiration to all those who have the well-being of their fellowmen at heart. To have been designated as men with this ideal is indeed a privilege for which I would express the profound appreciation and gratitude of both my brother and myself.
Ramon Magsaysay exemplified the highest type of democratic leadership—the need to improve the people’s living standards in order to prove the correctness of the ideals of free enterprise both in agricultural development and in any industrial program.
What we have tried to do is to better the lot of the farmer—the man who produces the staple necessities of life, and who so often is ignored in the rush of everyday existence.
Your recognition today gives us the satisfaction of knowing that we have succeeded, and encourages us to strive further for the advancement of those less fortunate than ourselves.
The philosophy behind this effort lies in the universal concept of the brotherhood of man. This thought should ever be before us, since its ideals range through the cooperation of individuals to the friendship of nations, and the peace of the world.
I pray we may be given understanding and a broad vision, so that we may be worthy of the ideals set by your late revered President Magsaysay.
LAWRENCE KADOORIE, born in the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong in 1899, and his brother HORACE, born in London in 1902, have followed in their generation the pattern of successful business and practical philanthropy set by their father and his brother. The sons of Laura Mocatta Kadoorie and Sir Wily Kadoorie, K.B.E. (created 1926), they attended the Cathedral School in Shanghai, Ascham St. Vincents at Eastbourne and Clifton College, Bristol, England. LAWRENCE went on to study law at Lincoln’s Inn, London.
Their father, moving from Baghdad in 1880 to India and then China, became a British subject and founded in Hong Kong and Shanghai the firm of E. S. Kadoorie & Co. which later became Sir Wily Kadoorie & Sons, engaged in industrial finance. The benefactor of schools and hospitals in Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, France, Portugal, England, India and China, he was the first to provide educational facilities for girls in many parts of the Middle East. His brother, Sir Ellis Kadoorie, founded agricultural colleges in Palestine and several schools in China and Hong Kong.
Assuming leadership of the family enterprises upon their father’s death in 1944, LAWRENCE and HORACE KADOORIE added many new business, civic and charitable activities and, in 1951, focused their acumen and generosity upon a new type of venture in philanthropy. Within 10 years, contributions in excess of HK$16 million were made to this experiment. Working in complete cooperation with Government, they provided the means whereby some 75,000 families of refugees and struggling cultivators in 1,092 villages in the New Territories of the Colony of Hong Kong could become productive.
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