Giving for the future: KIDZ charity supports needy Taichung children
By Nathan Hines
Last week I paid a visit to the Christian Herald Children's Home in Taichung as a representative of the Taichung American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) board of directors. Christian Herald is part of the Hsiang Shang Social Welfare Foundation and, since 1975, has helped provide local orphaned children with a place to live, food, clothing and an education. Currently, 61 children between the ages of 4 and 18 live there.
I had never been to an orphanage before and didn't really know what to expect. What I found were a group of 61 normal kids, just like any children you might find in any home in Taiwan. Some are funny, some are shy, some like sports, and some like to read. The only difference between them and any other children I've met in my eight years in Taiwan (or my 34 years in this world) is the fact that they had a bad bit of luck starting out in life. Some of them, like me, were given up by parents that felt they couldn't carry the burden of raising a child. Some lost their families in the 9-21 earthquake. Some don't even know where they came from. But, regardless of their individual situations, I saw none of the bitterness or self-pity that you might expect in people who have been dealt so poor a hand in life.
What I did see, in every child there, were the hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow for themselves. None of them complained about the sorrows of their past, but instead talked about the things that they wanted to do with their futures. And this is the very reason that Taichung AmCham's KIDZ charity is involved with the Christian Herald Children's Home--because part of that better future is getting an education. Although Christian Herald is able to provide these children with the basic needs of food and a place to sleep at night, the problem remains of what these children will do when they aren't children anymore.
High school education in Taiwan costs money. The average tuition and school costs per child per school year is NT$100,000, depending on whether it's a public or private school. Without an education, these kids are faced with little choice and few opportunities when they step out on their own into the world. Starting next year, there will be 21 children at Christian Herald who will be of high school age. Currently, there just aren't enough funds to ensure that all of them will be able to receive the education that they need to be able to attain the dreams they have for their own futures. When I heard about the KIDZ charity, I saw it as an opportunity to help change lives right here in my own community. It was a chance for me to help someone in a position that I could have easily ended up in myself.
Taichung AmCham is planning several fundraising events over the course of this coming year, to help make sure these kids will be able to get the educations they need. We're starting with a fundraising dinner in May that will also be attended by the very kids who are benefiting from donors' goodwill. It will be a chance for people to meet these bright young people and a chance to see directly where donations will be going. If you have any interest in attending this dinner, helping at any of the other upcoming AmCham KIDZ charity events, or making a much-needed donation, please contact the KIDZ charity at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact AmCham administrative coordinator River Chen at 0955-038-733, (04) 2326-7591, or email@example.com.
Please lend a hand in giving these children the chance to build the futures they deserve!