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.