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Taiwan partners with NGO consortium to help displaced people in western Thailand

Lai Ming-chi (left), director-general of the Department of NGO International Affairs under the MOFA, and Sally Thompson, executive director of TBC, display an MOU for a donation of US$100,000 Oct. 30 in Mae Sot district, Thailand. (Staff photos/Chin Hung-hao)

Lai Ming-chi (left), director-general of the Department of NGO International Affairs under the MOFA, and Sally Thompson, executive director of TBC, display an MOU for a donation of US$100,000 Oct. 30 in Mae Sot district, Thailand. (Staff photos/Chin Hung-hao)
 

Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding for a donation of US$100,000 with Bangkok-based nongovernmental organization The Border Consortium Oct. 30 in the country’s Mae Sot district, reaffirming Taiwan’s longstanding commitment to aiding displaced people in the Myanmar border region.

An alliance of nine international NGOs, TBC has been working since 1984 to provide food and shelter for people fleeing from conflicts in Myanmar. Its operations are made possible thanks to donations from around the world, with Taiwan having contributed US$880,000 over the past 10 years.
 

A resident in the Mae La camp in Mae Sot displays a bowl of nutrition supplements that are added to the meals of young children.

A resident in the Mae La camp in Mae Sot displays a bowl of nutrition supplements that are added to the meals of young children.
 

Taiwan’s donations are used by TBC to fund its food and education projects, such as for purchasing nutrition supplements given to young children staying in western Thailand’s nine camps for displaced people.

“Supplements help keep the younger generations healthy and prepare them for reintegrating into normal life when the time comes,” said Tung Chen-yuan, head of TECO in Thailand.
 

Young men at the Mae La camp learn transferable skills during an automobile repair class.

Young men at the Mae La camp learn transferable skills during an automobile repair class.
 

The signing ceremony was attended by Lai Ming-chi, director-general of the Department of NGO International Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and timed to coincide with activities marking the 35th anniversary of the camps. The MOFA delegation led by Lai also visited the Mae La camp in Mae Sot, the largest of the nine sites, and participated in seminars focused on creating a better future for camp residents and finding solutions to the protracted conflicts in Myanmar.

At the ceremony, Lai said Taiwan’s partnership with TBC reflects the nation’s own development: “We were once a country that received foreign aid, but now we can help those in need.”

In addition its work with TBC, the government is cooperating with Hualien County-based Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation in eastern Taiwan to assess the feasibility of extending the group’s support to the camps in western Thailand.

“Humanitarian aid has no boundaries, so in the future Taiwan would like to play a more proactive role internationally alongside our like-minded partners and allies,” Lai said. “We’re all stronger together.” (By Oscar Chung)
 

Housing units at the Mae La camp

Housing units at the Mae La camp