Zhongliao Township of Nantou County is one of the most economically disadvantaged areas in Taiwan. Especially after the Jiji earthquake in 1999, homes were completely destroyed and the community was devastated. Young people were forced to leave the area and seek employment elsewhere, leaving behind children and the elderly. More than half of the school children come from low-income families. Moreover, most parents are farmers who do not have time to take care of their children.
Mr. Samuel Liao, an alumnus of the Tunghai EMBA program and native of Zhongliao, and his wife have been offering free English lessons and tutoring to children in Zhongliao for years. Partnering with Mr. and Mrs. Liao, Professor Hsu organized the Tunghai University Care Camp—a group of volunteers sent to Zhongliao to serve local elementary schools during summer vacation. In 2014, nine volunteers were sent to serve one school. The camp expanded in the following years: 45 volunteers served three schools in 2015, and 44 volunteers served five schools in 2016.
Tunghai University students are not the only participants in the care camp; we have had students from other universities, as well as middle and high school students from Zhongliao join the camp. Moreover, our team of volunteers also included international students from countries like the United States, France, Australia, and Indonesia. In 2017, the THU Care Camp worked with volunteers from the Assisting Individual with Disadvantages (AID) program, sponsored by the Overseas Community Affairs Council. AID volunteers are high school students of Chinese heritage from English-speaking countries, who teach English at schools in remote areas of Taiwan. So, Taiwanese students who join the THU Care Camp have the opportunity to interact with people from different countries and backgrounds. We hope to continue to recruit volunteers from abroad and add diversity to our team of volunteers.
Profile of Mr. Liao by DaAi TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTQPqfYqyF8
News reports on the THU Care Camp: