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International Volunteer Society Prepared For a Summer of Service
During the upcoming summer vacation NTHU’s International Volunteer Society, established 12 years ago and the first of its kind in Taiwan, is sending missions to Kenya, Tanzania, Belize, and Malaysia, where they will deliver more than 400 used computers; they will also provide computer education, conduct story-telling sessions at orphanages, and provide scholarships for disadvantaged students. The Belize team will also be donating 20 solar panels.
 
The International Volunteer Society was established in 2007 by NTHU President Hocheng Hong, who at that time was the Vice President for Student Affairs. He often exhorts students to expand their range of experience by “walking 10,000 miles, reading 10,000 books, and serving 10,000 people.” In 2007, the first batch of volunteers went to Nepal, Indonesia, China, and Malaysia, and in later years this was expanded to include such nations as Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Ghana, and Belize. Designed to meet the local needs, the Society’s projects have included education, health care, hygiene, and documenting local cultural history. During the Society’s first 11 years over 600 NTHU students have participated in overseas volunteer projects, and an additional 47 are getting ready to ship out this summer.
 
At the flag presentation ceremony Senior Vice President Hsin Shih-chang said that Tsing Hua University has long been committed to expanding students' international outlook. He also said that since all the fundraising and arrangements are done by the participants themselves, they learn a lot even before they go overseas, and that he looks forward to seeing the program expand in the coming years.
 
The Taiwan ImagingTek Corporation (TITC) has donated NT$250,000 to the Society. TITC CEO Star Sung praised the participants for their courage and thanked them for braving the heat of summer to deliver a message of goodwill and love from Taiwan to needy people in different part of the world.
 
Setting up an Off-line Database in Kenya
 
This year the Society is sending its fourth mission to Kenya. The team has collected 120 used desktop computers and 60 laptops and will deliver them to such remote areas as Nakuru, where the team will also help set up computer classrooms at three local middle schools and offer computer science education as well.
 
The Society’s previous Kenya missions discovered that even when working computers are available, internet access can be expensive and unreliable. Thus this year’s team leader Wu Xinfang said that they will also provide the offline database "Raspberry Pi," which includes Wikipedia and educational materials provided by the Khan Academy so that students will learn the skill of mining research data.
 
The team will also set up an "online exchange platform" for connecting the schools at which past volunteers have provided computer courses, allowing them to consult with one another and with the team members after they return to Taiwan.
 
Solar Panels and Scholarships for Belize
 
This will be the fourth mission to Belize. The team will be in Belize for 40 days and will distribute 105 second-hand computers to local primary and secondary schools. The Belize team is unique in that it also awards scholarships to outstanding local students, and over the years it has helped eight students complete high school in spite of their financial difficulty.
 
Team leader Freya Yang pointed out that even families with a stable dual-income only get NTD 300,000 annually. At such income, it is difficult to send their children to high school. Therefore, each year the Belize team provides a number of scholarships covering the recipients’ high school tuition for four years. The recipients are selected on the basis of an application and interviews with the students and parents. This year the team will provide four scholarships, two of which have been funded by TITC and Shin Kong Bank.
 
Yang said that last year’s team went to the Toledo district and discovered that there was a lack of basic electricity in the area. Therefore, this year’s team has arranged for the donation of 20 solar panels, which will supply stable electricity power for 3 primary schools.
 
Tanzania Team Will Visit Eight Schools in 42 Days
 
The Tanzania team is the oldest in the Society and is preparing to make its 11th trip to Tanzania. This summer the team will provide 120 second-hand computers to eight local secondary schools, and provide basic computer education including how to use the internet to learn more about the world.
 
Team leader Minnie Li said that in addition to providing local students and teachers with computer courses, they will also lead group sports activities and teach Chinese songs and calligraphy. They will also demonstrate such devices as catapults and blowguns, and conduct some simple scientific experiments, such as using paper planes to teach students about aerodynamics. One of the team’s 42 days in Tanzania will be spent telling stories in English at an orphanage.
 
The Maasai are the largest ethnic group in Tanzania; they speak the Swahili language, of which the team members have learned enough to introduce themselves. The team is very grateful for the generous support provided by ASUSTeK Computer Computers, Giga Solar Materials, the Futianfu Social Welfare Foundation, Applied Optoelectronics, TITC, and VisEra Technology.
 
Environmental Education and Documentary Filming in Malaysia
 
The Malaysia team was established in 2012 and focuses on local field surveys and cultural preservation. This year will be the second time that the team will go to Kuala Sepetang, and for one month they will conduct activities related to community building, cultural history, and environmental awareness.
 
Team consultant Sam Deng, a fourth year student of the Interdisciplinary Program of Sciences at NTHU, was a member of the team last year. He said that in the past, the Malaysia missions focused on recording the culture of the local Chinese community. However, last year they discovered that the mouth of the Kuala Sepetang River is full of rubbish, so this year’s team will focus on environmental education.
 
Deng said that the team will hold four environmental education workshops for local residents focusing on recycling and using discarded materials to produce souvenirs. They will also produce a documentary film on their project.
 
Assistant team leader Huang Xiaoling said that the team is looking forward to making a positive impact on this corner of the world.
 

During the upcoming summer vacation, NTHU’s International Volunteer Society is sending missions to Kenya, Tanzania, Belize, and Malaysia.

During the upcoming summer vacation, NTHU’s International Volunteer Society is sending missions to Kenya, Tanzania, Belize, and Malaysia.


The Tanzania team will provide basic computer education at eight local secondary schools, teaching local students how to use the internet to learn more about the world.

The Tanzania team will provide basic computer education at eight local secondary schools, teaching local students how to use the internet to learn more about the world.


The Belize team will donate 20 solar panels to three different primary schools.

The Belize team will donate 20 solar panels to three different primary schools.


The Kenya team will set up an offline database.

The Kenya team will set up an offline database.


The Malaysia team focuses on local field surveys and cultural preservation, and this year will conduct activities related to community building, cultural history, and environmental awareness.

The Malaysia team focuses on local field surveys and cultural preservation, and this year will conduct activities related to community building, cultural history, and environmental awareness.

 

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