“Children’s dreams are only as big as their teachers’ worlds,” says Hsieh Chih-mou. A professor with the Department of Civic Education and Leadership at National Taiwan Normal University, Hsieh takes his students on outings that develop leadership skills and provide wilderness therapy. Some of his former students have gone on to establish schools in Nepal and northern Thailand, taking up the torch of making the world a better place.
Xiluo Township in Yunlin County is one of Taiwan’s most important vegetable growing areas, relying mainly on leafy vegetables for income. When you come into the fields you can see net greenhouses covered in green plastic mesh, as well as people doing the endless workaday chores of farming: weeding, fertilizing, and harvesting.
Issues like income inequality and the urban-rural divide have created an almost omnipresent negative atmosphere in society. Rather than wallow in this negativity, though, a group of young people has chosen to take direct action, heading to the heart of the problem. Equipped with enviable academic credentials, they are choosing to get involved with rural communities and work with the children there, because they believe that Teach for Taiwan provides an opportunity to change society.
I always assumed that pictures posted on social media of plastic garbage floating in the ocean represented rare cases. It was only when I personally went to the seacoast that I saw the plastic bottles and plastic bags spread everywhere, in quantities that grew more shocking with each visit. It is only then that one wakes up to the fact that plastic pollution is such a serious issue in our lives.
Since the end of 2012, Taiwan’s Junyi Academy has put more than 10,000 free educational videos and 40,000 interactive practice questions online. Its platform has more than 1.5 million registered users, and every month more than 200,000 students actively log on and learn with it. From elite schools to rural classrooms, from private cram schools to remedial classes for disadvantaged groups, the technology-aided learning it facilitates is moving education beyond classrooms and textbooks.
Surrounded by the Central Mountain Range, the Coastal Mountain Range, and the Pacific Ocean, the Hualien-Taitung area has long been known in Taiwan as “the back of the mountains,” and is blessed with a unique natural environment. This place gives refuge to people from many other locations, who—because they have found a place where they can settle down and enjoy their lives—have made it “home” in their hearts and minds.
In 2015 Indra Tan, Fonny Zhang, Mona Lin, Kartika Condro Ester and other Indonesian immigrants who frequently engage in Taiwanese‡Indonesian cultural exchange, had been giving some performances of Indonesian dance. The high frequency of performances began to make them feel that they were in an aesthetic rut. Then one day they had a flash of inspiration: “Why not start giving angklung performances instead?” The origins of the performance group Gema Angklung can be traced back to that moment.
The MacKay Memorial Hospital and the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation provide medical assistance overseas, not only offering free treatment but also training seed teams of medical practitioners. Believing that “it is better to teach a man to fish than to give a man a fish,” they have been doing this for 20 years without interruption, and have achieved great results.
Cambodian battlefields, Kurdish refugee camps in Iran, the Zambian countryside.... Dr. Peter Kenrick, chief of emergency medicine at Taitung Christian Hospital, has practiced medicine in many far-flung corners of the world. Asked about the motivation for his medical travels, he replies simply, “Just for fun!”
Over the centuries, through urbanization and economic development, humankind has lost touch with Nature. But more recently, with the rise of environmental consciousness, people are growing more willing to go outdoors and personally experience Nature’s majesty and beauty.