Taiwan also has a different method of measuring poverty. There is a relative poverty line, and the poverty threshold is different for every region. Only around 2% of the population is considered to be poor. However, income inequality is prevalent as more than 65% of workers earn a below-average salary in Taiwan. If a person’s income crosses even slightly above the poverty threshold for a particular area, then benefits and aid become scarce. Here are five charities operating in Taiwan that are helping both locally and internationally to rapidly decrease the rate of poverty.
Tzu Chi means “relieving suffering with compassion.” The compassion relief organization was founded in Hualien City in May 1996 by Dharma Master Cheng Yen. One of the Buddhist charities in Taiwan, Tzu Chi believes in healing spiritual poverty, by “spreading the essential values of love and compassion to all.” It has established grassroots volunteers across the world and has up to seven bases in the United Kingdom, including Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester and London.
Tzu Chi believes in “educating the rich to help the poor; inspiring the poor to realize their riches.” It spreads a message of universal love and encourages bringing out good in everyone. In February 2023, it fundraised and mobilized aid for the disastrous 7.8 magnitude earthquakes in Turkey. The charity provided warm blankets and food. The local Tzu Chi volunteers in Turkey also provided citizens with gift cards to buy supplies from supermarkets.
Garden of Hope
Garden of Hope is a charity that is fighting gender-based violence in Taiwan. It was established in 1986 by Angie Golmon, Liang-Wan Hui and a group of Christian missionaries. It was one of the first charities in Taiwan to help girls rehabilitate and heal from sexual abuse. It spreads the values of justice and love by actively preventing sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and domestic violence of children and women.
More than 68% of women to whom the charity has provided aid have significantly lowered the risk of being in a violent environment. About 76% of women have been aided to start work and become financially independent. More than 75% of children who are victims of domestic violence have been provided with therapy and feel that they can protect themselves better.
Ti Hwei is a charitable nursery that fosters orphans and underprivileged children by providing them with shelter and education. Tang Lesong founded the charity in 1980 using their own savings and loans from relatives to establish a sports welfare kindergarten. Lesong’s passion has encouraged more destitute families to reach out and ask for help.
Ti Hwei also launched a project called Kyobo Croner with the mission of helping children attain long-term placement in an establishment that can provide personal care, education and training services.
The Mustard Seed Mission
The Mustard Seed Mission believes that “the mustard seed can grow into a big tree and bear fruits for others under proper care.”
The Foundation offers initial funding for small startup projects initiated by churches globally. It aims to support these projects as a minority partner, providing financial assistance for a defined period while fostering self-sustainability and reliance on the local church.
The Foundation is one of the first registered welfare charities operating in Taiwan. It was established by the late missionary Lillian R. Dickson, often called the “Mother of Orphans” in Taiwan, after the Second World War. Initially, the organization provided medical clinics and vocational training. Now, the Foundation extends grants to churches and Christian organizations worldwide, particularly for new ministry endeavors encompassing outreach, discipleship and economic empowerment.
The ongoing “Sprout of Love!” project continues to help more than 5,000 disadvantaged children in Taiwan.
The Children Are Us Foundation
The Children Are Us Foundation is a charity focused on supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities. It was established in June 1995 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan by parents of intellectually disabled individuals. The organization’s primary objective is to nurture and empower the untapped potential of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
The heartwarming and self-reliant reputation of Children Are Us has now become a significant symbol for intellectually disabled individuals in Taiwan. Notably, the Children Are Us bakery and restaurant have emerged as successful models of social enterprise in Taiwan, benefiting both the public and its employees.
All of these charities operating in Taiwan are actively shaping a brighter future for the country. Despite the misleading poverty rate measurements, such charities create positive change on a local level and will shape generations to come.
– Sharvi Rana