|Robin Lim (Left)|
Robin Lim, a Filipino-American midwife who helps poor women have healthy pregnancies and births in Indonesia, has been named 2011 CNN Hero of the Year.
In Sunday's star-studded ceremony at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Lim received the CNN Hero of the Year 2011 award from Anderson Cooper.
"Today on our Earth, 981 mothers in the prime of their life 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," a tearful Lim said, as she accepted the honor.
Lim, who was born to an American soldier and a Filipino mother, decided to become a midwife after her younger sister died from pregnancy complications a few years ago.
She and her husband sold their house in Hawaii, and moved to Bali, Indonesia to "reinvent" their lives.
In Indonesia, Lim noted pregnant women are 300 times more likely to die in the next 12 months than women who are not pregnant.
Fondly called as "Ibu Robin" (Mother Robin), she has been running her free clinics Yayasan Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother Earth) in Bali and Aceh with Indonesian midwives since 2003. The clinic provides free prenatal and birthing services for poor Indonesian women. Lim also provides training for young midwives.
Christy Turlington Burns, model and founder of Every Mother Counts, introduced Lim as one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes during the ceremony. She recalled having a life-threatening complication during her own pregnancy
"My wish is that every mother all over the world has the same chance surviving childbirth I had. My friend Robin Lim shares that wish and she spends her days and nights making it so," Burns said.
With Lim being named CNN Hero of the Year, her non-profit Bumi Sehat Foundation will receive a $250,000 grant. This is in addition to the $50,000 already given to each of the Top 10 CNN Heroes.
The CNN Heroes awarding ceremony was attended by stars such as Jerry Seinfeld, Sofia Vergara, will.i.am., Miley Cyrus and Kid Rock.
CNN Heroes is a multi-platform campaign that "shines a spotlight on individuals who go to extraordinary lengths to serve others." This year, the campaign reportedly received over 10,000 submissions from more than 100 countries.
In 2009, Filipino Efren Peñaflorida, who started a "pushcart classroom" to bring education to poor children as an alternative to gang membership, was named CNN Hero of the Year. He was the first Filipino to win the award.