Chen (center) poses with financial aid recipients and their families. Photo: Facebook/BeiTaiNanJiaFu

An 83-year-old woman from Tainan, southwestern Taiwan, who 46 years ago started making donations to charities helping children and families, this week provided financial aid to 20 widowed mothers, many of them immigrants.

Chen Yang Li-Jung, who lost her husband in 1961 when she was 26, went on to single-handedly raise her two daughters, Taiwan Shin Sheng Daily News reported.

Having coped with the death of a loved one and taken on the challenges involved in looking after her own children, in 1972 Chen began to make an annual charitable donation to help others in similar situations.

Her yearly donation of NT$100,000 (at current exchange rate, US$3,247) went to assist 10 single mothers, and was channeled through a local chapter of the Chinese Nationalist Party which helped those in need.

In 2007, Chen used her life savings of NT$10 million to found the Plum Social Welfare and Charity Foundation to do charity work. Since she began donating money more than 46 years ago, it is estimated that Chen has donated over NT$9.5 million and has helped more than 480 people.

At a ceremony this week at the South Tainan Branch of the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families, 20 mothers, 11 of whom were immigrant widows originally from Vietnam, Indonesia or Cambodia, each received NT$25,000 (US$812) financial aid from Chen.