Lim is all smiles here.
MANILA, Philippines – There’s another reason for Filipinos to rejoice when a Filipino-American midwife, Hemmerle Robin Teresa Jehle, also known as Robin Lim was named the 2011 CNN Hero of the Year for her humanitarian efforts in giving healthy pregnancies and births for poor women in Indonesia.
Lim, 54, is of American and Filipina descent, received the 2011 CNN Hero of the Year award during the ceremony held at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on Sunday night, December 12. It was presented by Anderson Cooper.
She was chosen ‘Hero of the Year’ via an 11-week public voting on the CNN website and will receive $250,000 for her cause to be used for her non-profit Bumi Sehat Foundation and it is in addition to the $50,000 that each of all of the top 10 Heroes received for making it to the the finals.
Stressing the importance of saving a mother’s life, Lim tearfully told the audience in her acceptance speech that, “Today on Earth, 981 mothers in the prime of their lives will die and tomorrow again and yesterday. And I’m asking you to help change that.
“We don’t even know how many babies are lost, but all of us can help change that,”
Millennium Development Goals (MDG) data from Bali’s provincial development agency showed that the infant mortality rate in Bali was 34 per 1,000 lives, while the MDG target is 24 per 1,000, expected to be achieved by 2015.
She is seen gazing on the innocence of a baby. She dedicates her life to the service of providing safe and healthy life for both the mothers and babies in Indonesia.
Regencies with high infant mortality rates in Bali are Karangasem and Jembrana, both above the national rate of 36 per 1,000. And according to the data, the most common cause of infant deaths is low birth weight, accounting for 41 percent or 188 cases, followed by pneumonia and asphyxia.
Mother Robin shares that she is inspired by her Filipino grandmother, Vicenta Munar Lim, who was a traditional birth attendant in Baguio City before and after World War II. She became a midwife after her sister – and her sister’s baby – died from complications during childbirth several years ago.
Together with her husband, Lim sold their house in Hawaii and moved to Bali, Indonesia where she has been running a free clinic Yayasan Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother Earth) together with other Indonesian midwives since 2003. She also helps run another clinic in Aceh.
The clinics offer free prenatal and birthing services for underprivileged women. Aside from these services, Lim also gives training for young midwives.
In 2009, Filipino Efren Peñaflorida became the first Filipino to win the CNN Hero of the Year award through his ‘pushcart classroom’, which uses education to help poor children avoid gang membership.
The CNN Heroes is an initiative that puts focus on individuals who, despite their unknown stature, provide extraordinary measures to the benefit of others. The year 2011 had CNN receiving over 10, 000 entries from more than 100 countries.
Lim is shown accepting her award in this video, which is courtesy of CNN website.